Bowie Man Pleads Guilty to Copyright Infringement for Selling More Than $300,000 Worth of Counterfeit DVDs Containing Copyrighted Works, Including Popular Movies, TV Shows, and Fitness Programs
Greenbelt, Maryland – Olayinka Wahab, a/k/a Sulaimon Olayinka Wahab, age 45, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to copyright infringement in connection with his sale of counterfeit DVDs containing copyrighted works, including popular movies, television shows, and fitness programs.
The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore.
According to his guilty plea, between May 2009 and May 2018, Wahab sold approximately 18,306 DVDs or DVD sets, with a total retail value of $315,761.44. Wahab knowingly sold counterfeit DVDs containing copyrighted works belonging to ABC Studios/Disney, Anchor Bay Entertainment; Beachbody; Disney; Fox; HBO Home Entertainment; Lionsgate; MGM; Netflix; Paramount; Sony; Universal; and Warner Brothers.
In 2017, representatives from the Motion Picture Association (MPA) identified a seller on an Internet marketplace offering DVD movies for sale at a discount. MPA purchased an item and analyzed the DVD upon receipt. The packaging and labeling were substantially indistinguishable from the packaging and labeling found on legitimate copies of the movie. The MPA was able to determine that the movie was counterfeit. Records obtained from the Internet marketplace revealed that this seller had made over 10,000 sales of DVD or Blu-Ray discs of popular movies, television shows, or fitness programs between August 2016 and April 2018.
Law enforcement officers, operating in an undercover capacity, subsequently conducted purchases from the seller, including DVD titles of “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Walking Dead,” “Grimm,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Peter Pan,” “The Lion King,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “The Fate of the Furious,” and “Finding Dory,” among others. The DVDs purchased by the undercover officers were provided to MPA representatives for authentication and were determined to be counterfeit. Law enforcement determined that Wahab was the individual selling the counterfeit items.
A search warrant was executed at Wahab’s residence and law enforcement seized two laptop computers, cellular phones, printers, and 589 counterfeit DVDs, all used by Wahab to commit copyright infringement. Wahab also advised law enforcement that he purchased the counterfeit DVDs that he sold from China, because the prices were much lower than normal prices.
As part of his plea agreement, Wahab will be required to forfeit the items seized from his home during the search, as well as $20,243.25 in cash seized from several bank accounts, 0.65595896 bitcoins sized from a Coinbase account, and $230.40 seized from a PayPal account used by Wahab to facilitate copyright infringement. Wahab has also agreed to pay restitution for the full amount of the victims’ losses, which will be determined by the Court.
Wahab faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for copyright infringement. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for Wahab on May 18, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended HSI for its work in the investigation and thanked the MPA for its substantial assistance in this matter. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rajeev R. Raghavan and Thomas M. Sullivan, who are prosecuting the case.
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