HOUSTON - Fans are being warned to avoid scams involving counterfeit sports gear as Super Bowl LI quickly approaches.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. "Be wise and be aware."
The Harris County District Attorney's Office said Ogg is warning those who make or sell fraudulent items that they risk being prosecuted, fined and sent to prison.
Usman Tassadiq, Abdul Bais Wali and Waqas Waqas, who were arrested by the Houston Police Department, were charged with the felony crime of trademark counterfeiting, the District Attorney's Office said.
The trio is accused of attempting to sell counterfeit Houston Texans T-shirts from a shop on Bellaire. The District Attorney's Office said the three face of up to two years in jail and fine of up to a $10,000.
Jun Sung Lee, also arrested by Houston police, was charged with trademark counterfeiting over a variety of items, including Super Bowl gear, at a shop on Harwin Drive, the District Attorney's Office said. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The District Attorney's Office said bogus merchandise can be of inferior quality and fall apart quickly. Super Bowl T-shirts, lanyards, bracelets and decals are among the counterfeit items that have been seized so far.
"Knock-offs are against the law," Ogg said. "We will protect intellectual property as we do personal property."
Some tips the District Attorney's Office provided to avoid fake merchandise include:
-Buy from known and established retail stores.
-Examine merchandise for quality, loose stitching and off-center logos that can be indicators of a counterfeit.
-Look for NFL hologram stickers; make sure holograms move in the light and from different angles.
Copyright 2017 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.