Beltsville Woman Pleads Guilty to Selling Counterfeit DVDs
Greenbelt, Maryland - Yong Liu, age 41, of Beltsville, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to criminal copyright infringement in connection with the sale of pirated Disney DVDs, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the plea agreement, on April 3, 2008, Customs and Border Protection officers examined a package being shipped from Beijing, China to Yong Liu in Beltsville. The package contained 1,025 counterfeit Disney DVDs in 41 individually wrapped boxes labeled “Baby Einstein DVD Collection.” On April 10, 2008, an agent from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement located an individual selling “Baby Einstein DVD collections” on eBay using the name “babygeniusmontessori,” with a location of Beltsville, Maryland. After confirming with Disney that these were not authorized DVDs, on May 7, 2008, the agent made an undercover purchase of a “Baby Einstein DVD Collection” for $45.98 from “babygeniusmontessori,” who was identified as Yong Liu. On May 8, 2008, Disney issued a “Cease and Desist Notice” to Young Liu advising that her sales on eBay were in violation of Disney’s copyrights and demanding that she stop her sales of counterfeit Disney products.
Despite Disney’s notice, on May 28, 2008, agents learned that Yong Liu was continuing to sell the counterfeit Disney DVDs on eBay, although she had changed her seller account name and e-mail address. Agents again made an undercover purchase of one “Baby Einstein DVD Collection” and confirmed by the return address on the package that the sender was Yong Liu. A search warrant executed at Liu’s home on September 24, 2008 recovered 2,132 packaged DVDs, including multiple collections that were prepared for shipment. The eBay/PayPal records for Liu’s accounts show that from May 1 to May 10, 2008, Liu sold more than 10 copies of Baby Einstein DVD collections, receiving more than $6,000 for those collections. In addition, agents discovered that Liu sold counterfeit copies of other copyright protected DVDs, including counterfeit collections of: the Sopranos Complete Seasons 1-6, Star Trek collections, Sex and the City-Complete Series Collection, all belonging to Paramount; James Bond 007 Complete Set, belonging to United Artists; Friends-The Complete Series Collection, belonging to Warner Brothers; Microsoft Windows software; Rosetta Stone software; and Muzzy language learning software, worth $65,084.62.
Liu faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for copyright infringement. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has scheduled sentencing for September 4, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Special Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Teelucksingh, who is prosecuting the case.