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Shop owner guilty of counterfeit sales

South Boston News
On Dec. 15, FBI agents swarmed The Shop in Riverdale and stayed inside for hours. The raid has resulted in a guilty plea by Justin DeMatteo of selling counterfeit GM equipment through the business. / September 27, 2012
A former Riverdale business operator pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to selling counterfeit auto equipment and agreed to pay restitution of $328,000 to General Motors, the parts maker.

Justin DeMatteo, 31, of Saxe, who ran The Shop at the time of a December 2011 raid by federal agents, will also forfeit $109,074 in property and contraband amassed as part of the scheme.

The conviction was announced yesterday by the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and FBI Assistant Director Joseph Demarest.

DeMatteo pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of trafficking in goods bearing counterfeit marks.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2013.

In court documents, DeMatteo admitted he sold counterfeit GM Corporation-branded “Tech 2” vehicle diagnostic systems between January and May 2011. The Tech 2 is a hand-held computer used to diagnose problems in vehicles that use electronic controls and interfaces, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. GM also offers a newer diagnostic interface — the Controller Area Network diagnostic interface (CANdi) module, which serves as an enhancement to the Tech 2 — to communicate with future on-board computer systems.

DeMatteo admitted he offered for sale purported Tech 2 units and CANdi modules that bore counterfeit GM marks. DeMatteo sold the counterfeit Tech 2 units on eBay and accepted payment via Paypal. He also purchased the units from unauthorized Chinese manufacturers and in many cases had them drop-shipped directly from China to U.S. customers.

On Dec. 15, 2011, federal agents executed search warrants at DeMatteo’s residence in Saxe and at his place of business in South Boston. Among other things, agents seized numerous counterfeit GM Tech 2 units and CANdi modules, and various computer equipment and documents that contained evidence linking DeMatteo to the sale of the counterfeit Tech 2 units.

According to the stipulated statement of facts and plea agreement, the number of Tech 2 and CANdi units sold by DeMatteo or seized during the searches totaled nearly 100. The retail price of 100 authentic products would have been more than $380,000.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsay Kelly of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Evan Williams of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and was investigated by the FBI’s Intellectual Property Rights Unit.

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