A 33-year-old Hollywood resident was indicted today on federal charges that he used a camcorder to covertly film theatrical movies that were being shown at preview screenings.
Johnny Ray Gasca was charged by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles with four counts: criminal infringement of a copyright, interstate communication of a threat, possession of a false identification document of the United States and witness retaliation.
A federal search warrant executed on Gasca’s residence on March 13 resulted in the seizure of video duplication equipment, a false Social Security card and two diaries in which Gasca wrote that he made as much as $4,500 per week selling pirated pre-release screenings of movies such as “Anger Management,” “The Core” and “Cradle 2 the Grave.”
In addition to the copyright infringement charge, the indictment alleges that Gasca communicated a threat to investigators with the Motion Picture Association of America. On March 13, the day the search warrant was executed by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gasca allegedly demanded that the MPAA assist him in retrieving his seized video reproduction equipment, or he would retaliate by causing the release of up to 30 un-released motion pictures.
Gasca was also charged with witness retaliation for allegedly telling a witness in the case that she could be shot because she provided information to the FBI that was included in an affidavit in support of the search warrant.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Gasca faces a maximum possible penalty of 28 years in federal prison if convicted of all charges.
After Gasca’s arrest on April 22, 2003, United States Magistrate Judge Patrick Walsh ordered him detained without bond following revelations that Gasca had 89 prior arrests and a conviction on attempted murder charges
Gasca is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on May 12, 2003.
The case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cyber Crimes Division in Los Angeles. CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Johnson
Computer Crimes Section
(213) 894-2688 Release No. 03-072