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Durango man suspected in trademark violation

By Shane Benjamin Herald staff writer

A Durango man is suspected of raking in more than $100,000 from selling counterfeit and trademark-protected soccer jerseys of professional teams and players.

Sven Gunnar Christopher “Chris” Skoglund, 54, is the subject of a federal investigation involving the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which obtained a federal warrant to seize up to $107,117 in funds, a computer domain name and a PayPal account.

According to the warrant, Skoglund operated a website called www.ilovesoccer.biz and a storefront in Hermosa where he sold trademarked soccer jerseys and other sports memorabilia that was not licensed or authorized for sale.

In January 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspected six boxes that contained soccer jerseys displaying the U.S. Soccer Federation logo among other jerseys found to be in violation of intellectual property rights, according to the affidavit.

The domestic value of the items was estimated to be about $1,500, but the manufacturer’s suggested retail price would have been about $18,700, according to the affidavit.

Agents with Customs and Border Protection contacted Skoglund, who said during a phone conversation that he did not know about the legalities of trademarks and importing.

In July 2012, an agent with Homeland Security purchased three jerseys and a wallet from www.ilovesoccer.biz. All three items contained trademarked materials that later were forwarded to representatives of the companies whose trademarks were being infringed.

On May 10, 2013, an undercover agent purchased two counterfeit professional soccer jerseys from Skoglund’s physical storefront co-located with Mama’s Boy Pizza in Hermosa.

“The financial transaction was facilitated by a Mama’s Boy Pizza employee, swiping the undercover agent’s credit card for the purchase,” according to the affidavit.

Jim Salzillo, owner of Mama’s Boy, did not return a phone call Thursday seeking comment.

Skoglund is suspected of selling other items with trademark protection, including the Harley-Davidson and Red Bull brands.

PayPal records from November 2009 to February 2013 show that Skoglund completed more than 2,400 sales for more than $20, which totaled more than $116,000 in gross sales receipts.

He had 17 transactions for more than $500, and more than 1,400 sales in the amount of $39.98 for a total of $55,972.

PayPal records also show Skoglund transferred $107,117 from his PayPal account to his First National Bank account between Nov. 25, 2009, and Jan. 28, 2013.

An employee at Mama’s Boy told The Denver Post he believed Skoglund was in Switzerland. Efforts to reach Skoglund on Thursday were unsuccessful.

No charges have been filed in the case, said Jeffrey Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver.


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