October 5, 2007
by Jim Williamson
Minister pleads innocent in counterfeit goods case
Leslie White could receive a maximum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted
Leslie Ray “Buster” White, a member of the Tony Alamo Ministries in Fouke, pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday to trafficking in 1,475 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes and trafficking in counterfeit labels of copyrighted compact music discs.
White entered his not guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven in the Texarkana federal courthouse.
White, who has been referred to as the associate pastor of the Alamo ministries, was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Tyler, Texas. He was released on his own recognizance. During his plea, White was accompanied by his attorneys, Craig L. Henry of Texarkana, Texas, and David L. Botsford of Austin, Texas.
Craven scheduled a pretrial hearing for White on Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. and a trial date of Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.
Henry told Craven he had a conflict in schedules with another case during the first week in December. Craven said she would note the conflicts and the trial dates may be rescheduled.
Craven also said the search warrant and property seizure documents would be unsealed for disclosure for the attorneys.
The FBI confiscated about $109,185 in cash from a safe in the Great American Outlet Mall on New Boston Road in Texarkana, Texas. The indictments are based on sales of the counterfeit shoes and CDs at the outlet mall.
After entering his plea, White declined comment to the Gazette, saying any statements would come through his attorneys. However, the attorneys were unavailable for comment.
During appearances before the Fouke City Council meetings, White has been referred to as the associate pastor of Tony Alamo Ministries. However, Alamo said White was “just a member” of the ministries.
If convicted, White could receive a maximum of 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $2 million for trafficking in counterfeit goods.
He could also receive a maximum of five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for trafficking in counterfeit labels, said Davilyn Walston, public information officer for U.S. Attorney John L. Ratcliffe of the Eastern District of Texas.