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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-052

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

HOLLYWOOD GAME STORE OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO PIRATING VIDEO GAMES AND ILLEGALLY MODIFYING Xbox GAME CONSOLES


Los Angeles, CA - A co-owner of a Hollywood video game store pleaded guilty today in federal court to participating in a conspiracy to violate federal copyright laws by pirating video games by installing games on specially modified Xbox game consoles sold through the store.

Jason Jones, 34, of Los Angeles, a co-owner of ACME Game Store, pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Los Angeles before United States District Judge Edward Rafeedie.

Jones' partner Jonathan Bryant, 44, of Los Angeles has signed a plea agreement and is scheduled to plead guilty to a conspiracy count next Monday afternoon.

Jones admitted in court this morning that he and Bryant modified Xbox game consoles by installing more than 50 pirated games on each machine. Jones had Xbox machines running as demonstrators in ACME Game Store, and he described in detail to customers the advantages of the modifications. Customers would pay from $225 to more than $500 for the modifications and the pre-loading of pirated video games, depending on the extent of the modifications and the number of pirated games that were pre-loaded onto the hard drive.

Jones pleaded guilty and Bryant has agreed to plead guilty to a felony count of conspiring to 1) traffic in a technology used to circumvent a copyright protection system, 2) infringe on a valid copyright for financial gain, and 3) willfully infringe a copyrighted work by reproducing and distributing pirated works worth more than $1,000. Jones, Bryant and a third man who worked with them were indicted by a federal grand jury on January 9 for installing illegal modification chips on Xbox game systems which allowed users to store and play pirated video games.

The third defendant, Pei "Patrick" Cai, 32, of Pico Rivera, who allegedly was performing the Xbox modifications, has failed to make court appearances and is considered a fugitive. Cai is charged with conspiracy; two felony violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits trafficking in technology designed to circumvent digital copyright protection technology; copyright infringement; and copyright infringement for profit.

This case began when the Entertainment Software Association reported to law enforcement that its private investigators had purchased a modified Xbox game console, pre-loaded with pirated games, from ACME Game Store in May 2005.

Jones is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Rafeedie on August 7. The statutory maximum sentence for the conspiracy is five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense.

This case is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Release No. 06-052

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