WASHINGTON – Two Cleveland men have been charged by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City with operating an obscenity distribution business and related offenses, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman of the District of Utah announced today.
The indictment returned today charges Cleveland residents Sami R. Harb and Michael Harb, doing business as Movies by Mail, with three counts of engaging in a business of selling or transferring obscene DVDs, and three counts of using the mails to deliver obscene DVDs. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count. A summons was issued ordering the defendants to appear for arraignment on July 12 in Salt Lake City before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells.
The indictment supersedes a complaint filed in federal court in Salt Lake City on June 8, 2007, and unsealed on June 14 following a search of the Harbs’ offices and warehouse in Cleveland.
According to the indictment and other court documents, DVDs containing three films entitled “MaxHardcore, Pure Max 18,” “MaxHardcore, Extreme 12,” and “Extreme Associates, Cocktails 5,” were ordered from a Web site operated by the Harbs and mailed to an address in Salt Lake City as part of an FBI undercover investigation. The indictment alleges that these films are obscene. Court documents disclose that Movies by Mail delivered 683 packages to addresses in the state of Utah during 2006; 149 of them to addresses in Salt Lake City.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karin Fojtik of the District of Utah and Trial Attorney Kenneth Whitted of the Justice Department’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, which was formed to focus on the prosecution of adult obscenity nationwide. The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Adult Obscenity Squad, a national initiative of the FBI based in the Washington, D.C. Field Office, and agents from the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office.