Josh Davis Band sentenced in counterfeit-acoustic-guitar scam

Posted on April 11, 2014

In a better world, indie rock bands would never sell out. And in a perfect world, they would never sell phony brand-name guitars.

In a better world, indie rock bands would never sell out. And in a perfect world, they would never sell phony brand-name guitars.But that’s what’s been happening over the last few years when members of the Texas-based Josh Davis Band were stocking up on generic acoustic guitars and brandishing them with home-made labels from some of the finest guitar companies in the world.

Musicians and former band members Josh Davis, 39, Bruce Alford, 41, Romeo Rondeau, 44, pleaded guilty and were all sentenced in a Philadelphia courthouse in recent months to three years of “supervised release” and ordered to pay back thousands in restitution for relabeling 165 cheapie guitars and, in the words of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, selling them to “unsuspecting pawn shops.” The youngest member of the band, Randy Gray, 27, brought the case to a close April 10 when he was also ordered to pay restitution and received a sentence of three-year supervised release—and a single day in jail.

According to prosecutors, band members created phony-but-authentic-looking "C.F. Martin & Co.” logos through the use of computer-graphics programs, etching equipment and laser printers and stuck them on the heads and interiors of the nameless guitars. Martin Guitars was their brand of choice, but they would occasionally mock up bogus Gibson and Guild guitars, as well. As the band traveled from state to state for various gigs, members would “pawn” the phony guitars at various shops—with an average price of $340 per guitar, the ruse brought the band about $56,000 all told, which they used to finance their travels, according to prosecutors.

But the scheme went south, literally, when pawnshop managers in Tallahassee, Florida got wise to the scam and tipped off police.

In the above clip, three members of the Josh Davis Band (standing) purchase several generic guitars at Norman's Rare Guitars in California, for the purpose of "smashing them at the end of a live show" (wink wink...)

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