1/9/09 – Buster White: “I’m very regretful that this happened.”

January 9, 2009

Ex-Alamo follower gets home detention

TEXARKANA, Texas – A man who once described himself as an associate pastor of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries was sentenced Thursday to six months of home detention and two years of probation for selling fake Nikes and CDs with counterfeit labels at his store in Texarkana, Texas.

The charges against Leslie Ray “Buster” White, 58, stem from a March 1, 2007, raid by the FBI on The Great American Outlet Mall, a discount store that sells everything from furniture to toys to canned goods.

In federal court in Texarkana, Texas, on Thursday, White told U.S. District Judge David Folsom, “I’m very regretful that this happened.”

“I’ve taken measures to ensure that this does not happen again,” White said.

Folsom noted that White had no prior convictions and that he had received several letters in support of White.

“It’s important that, not only in this case but in any case, to know what those in the community feel about these matters,” Folsom said. “I don’t always agree with it, but in this case, I do.”

During the raid, the FBI seized about 2,500 articles of fake brand-name clothing or accessories, including 1,400 pairs of Nikes, 216 Polo shirts and 454 Louis Vuitton handbags. Authorities also seized 1,894 CDs with counterfeit labels.

Assistant U.S. attorney Alan Jackson said the investigation was sparked by a tip from an investigator with the recording industry or one of the brandname manufacturers. The case wasn’t related to an FBI investigation that led to Alamo’s indictment last year on charges of transporting underage girls across state lines for sexual purposes, Jackson said. Asked whether the store has any connection to the ministry, Jackson said, “I can’t address that.”

Alamo’s name wasn’t mentioned at the hearing, but White once identified himself as an associate pastor of the ministry.

He was a fixture at Fouke City Council meetings, speaking up for Alamo when the preacher’s name came up, said Mary Coker, founder of the anti-Alamo group Partnered Against Cult Activity.

After White’s indictment on Sept. 11, 2007, Alamo told the Texarkana Gazette, “He is being railroaded because he goes to my church.”

After White’s sentencing Thursday, his attorney, David Botsford of Austin, Texas, said his client is no longer associated with the church.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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