A city businessman will spend 1 1⁄2 to 4 1⁄2 years in prison for possessing counterfeit and stolen merchandise for sale at his Chrisler Avenue store.
Lawrence Farfield, 72, of 1108 Van Velsen St., had pleaded guilty last June to selling counterfeit Nike shoes and apparel from Coach, Chanel, Dooney & Bourke, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and UGG. The items were seized from the now-closed store, American Wear, at 1702 Chrisler Ave.
In addition to selling counterfeit merchandise, prosecutors said Farfield had other people steal merchandise for him and said he failed to pay unemployment insurance taxes for his employees.
At Fairfield’s sentencing Friday, his attorney, Steven Khoury, had asked Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino for leniency, pointing out that his client has emphysema, back problems and other health problems. He said his client sold high-end merchandise to clients who otherwise would not have been able to afford it. Farfield said his customers referred to him as “Uncle Larry,” according to a letter read by Khoury.
Khoury said Farfield paid his employees under the table because otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to afford living on what they were making.
Farfield made restitution of about $68,000 as well as $6,000 to Kohl’s department store and $2,766 in previously uncollected unemployment insurance taxes.
Khoury pushed for a local jail sentence rather than state prison. “It would be vindictive and it’s merciless,” he said.
Prosecutor Katie McCutcheon said Farfield flagrantly violated the law. When his business was raided in December 2010, police found more than 2,000 pairs of counterfeit Nike sneakers. In February 2011, while he was out on bail after the first arrest, authorities raided the business again and found more counterfeit merchandise and more sneakers.
McCutcheon said Farfield had been engaging in criminal activity for the past 20 years. In the early 1990s, he lost other businesses on other convictions of trademark counterfeiting and failure to pay sales taxes.
“The defendant has clearly made a career out of defrauding others,” he said.
Giardino sentenced Farfield to 1 1⁄2 to 4 years in state prison on all 49 charges but allowed them to run concurrently.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said Fairfield was essentially running a black market operation.
Some of the merchandise had the labels removed and was donated to the Boys and Girls Club and the YWCA women’s shelter. Other goods are being sent away to have their trade labels taken off and donated to other places.