PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A 28 year old man is charged with 7 counts of counterfeiting for allegedly selling fake Rolex watches online, according to police.
Adam Burraston was arrested by detectives assigned to the Portland Police Bureau’s White Collar Crimes Unit.
On Thursday, a Multnomah County grand jury handed down an 8-count indictment against Burraston. In addition to the counterfeiting charges, Burraston is charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
KOIN 6 News has learned that on Feb. 15, the Intellectual Property Enforcement Task Force executed a search warrant at Burraston’s residence in the 5300 block of Northeast Cully Blvd.
PPB Detective Cheryl Waddell said investigators found more than 50 fake Rolex watches inside Burraston’s room. Burraston had been selling the watches on the website “OfferUp.” He would post ads and then meet with people in person to exchange the items for cash.
Burraston was selling the watches for $100, according to Waddell.
One of the ads reviewed by KOIN 6 News reads, “$100 FIRM. Perfect condition and works perfectly. Still has plastic wrap around wristband. No this is not real. The secondhand ticks and the watch is battery powered. I have other colors too.”
Even though Burraston was advertising the product as fake, Waddell says it’s still illegal for him and others to sell any kind of product under the name that has intellectual property protection, such as a trademark or copyright.
In this case, the watches Burraston was selling, according to police, had the Rolex name on the face along with the well-recognized “crown.”
“They looked good,” Waddell said. “But if you held them in your hand they were very light, like they were made out of aluminum.”
Investigators believe Burraston had been selling the fake watches since 2015.
On a global level, federal investigators have been able to trace the proceeds from counterfeit merchandise sales to terrorism groups. The Council on Foreign Relations highlighted the connection in a 2006 publication.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that the Portland case has any connection to terrorism, according to police. Burraston was buying the fake watches in small qualities and having them shipped into the U.S. from places like China.
In 2016, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EU-IPO) published a study on the issue of counterfeiting and terrorism. The study concluded that “counterfeiting and piracy must be directly targeted as a threat to sustainable IP-based business models.” It also links the revenues from the sale of counterfeit goods to organized crime networks and even to financing terrorist groups, according the the website, STOPfake.gov.
According to the Rolex website, there are only 6 Authorized Dealers in Oregon.
Burraston is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday afternoon at the Justice Center in downtown Portland. Attempts to reach him on Friday were not successful.