Two Men Charged With Extensive Counterfeit Media Scheme In Fresno
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Emilio Perez-Solis, 39, of Oakland, and Hernan Cortes, 53, of Tulare, charging them with criminal copyright infringement for private financial gain, criminal copyright infringement, trafficking in counterfeit labels, documentation and packaging, and conspiracy, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, the defendants used an agriculture building in Fresno as a distribution point for counterfeit CDs and counterfeit DVDs. From the building, Perez-Solis sold counterfeit CDs and DVDs, including movies that were only in theatrical release and not yet available on DVD. Cortes assisted Perez-Solis in distributing counterfeit media from the building. On February 21, 2014, the building in Fresno County was found to contain approximately 70,000 counterfeit music CDs and movie DVDs.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the Fresno County Sherriff's Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Patrick R. Delahunty are prosecuting the case.
"Commercial piracy and product counterfeiting undermine the U.S. economy, rob Americans of jobs, stifle American innovation and promote other types of crime," said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge of HSI Fresno. "Intellectual property theft amounts to economic sabotage, which is why HSI will continue to aggressively pursue product counterfeiters and those who sell counterfeit products."
Perez-Solis and Cortes are currently in custody, and are scheduled to be arraigned in Fresno on March 10, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. If convicted, Perez-Solis and Cortes face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy, copyright infringement for financial gain, and trafficking in counterfeit labels charges. Criminal copyright infringement carries a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Individuals can provide invaluable assistance to HSI by reporting suspicious criminal activity to the HSI Tip Line at 866-DHS-2ICE (866-347-2423).