Raid yields bogus goods

A weekend raid at the Barnyard Flea Market on Saturday yielded more than $61,000 in counterfeit jeans, shoes and shirts from one vendor, according to Richmond County officials.

Investigator Anita Hopson said Richmond County Sheriff's investigators were joined by deputies and four private investigators hired by companies such as Nike and Red Monkey to make the arrests.

Based on tips received by the private investigators, police arrested 43-year-old Shelby Carter, who operates two booths at the market, and charged him with forged counterfeit trademark. His employee, Doc Eric Williams, 20, was also charged, she said.

Authorities arrived that morning to find people selling the counterfeit items to customers at a fraction of the real cost and quickly seized the merchandise, Investigator Hopson said.

"We cleaned out the entire two booths," she said.

The items, which included about $30,000 worth of counterfeit Nike Air Jordan shoes, are priced based upon their value if they were authentic, Investigator Hopson explained.

She said vendors typically acquire the fraudulent merchandise from overseas distributors or over the internet. Though they might not always realize what they are getting is fake, Investigator Hopson said many are warned beforehand that they must cease selling the products.

She warned of more raids.

"We're not just going to direct these raids at flea markets," she said. "We are going to be going out to actual businesses because there are several businesses locally that are selling everything from counterfeit pocket books to counterfeit shoes."

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.