News and Press Releases

Virginia Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Two Counts of Pirating Copyrighted Movies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2010

NORFOLK, Va.Brad Newell, 43, of Virginia Beach, Va., pled guilty today in Norfolk federal court to a two-count criminal information charging him with criminal copyright infringement and with the making of an unauthorized recording of motion picture showing in a local theater. 

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Office of Investigations in Washington, D.C., made the announcement today.  Newell is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith on Oct. 19, 2010, and faces up to a maximum of eight years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, forfeiture of seized assets and cash, and three years of supervised release.

According to court records, in August 2009, Newell and Nicholas Skamagos, who previously pled guilty to misdemeanor copyright infringement on May 26, 2010, opened a business named “Burn Central” that operated from a Norfolk storefront.  After receiving information that the business engaged in “pirating” or illegally copying and distributing copyrighted movies that had not yet been released to DVD, ICE agents began investigating Newell and Burn Central.  During the investigation, ICE agents bought numerous pirated movies from Newell and Burn Central, as well as a machine capable of simultaneously making seven copies from a single master DVD.

On April 9, 2010, ICE agents executed five warrants to seize evidence from Burn Central and other premises used in furtherance of illegal copyright piracy.  At Burn Central, agents arrested Brad Newell and seized 300 illegal copies of the movie “Clash of the Titans,” which were being readied for sale on the upcoming weekend.  Agents also seized a video camera that Brad Newell used for “camming” or illegally filming the movie “Clash of the Titans” the night before, while it showed in a Chesapeake movie theater.

  As part of his plea agreement, Newell agreed to forfeit more than 1,500 copies of pirated movies, approximately $28,505 in cash, and assorted computer and electronic equipment used in furtherance of his illegal activities.

            This case was investigated by ICE.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert Krask is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.

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