Federal Jury Convicts Former Video Store Owner of Selling Counterfeit DVDs
Bangor, Maine: A Mattawamkeag man was convicted yesterday of mail fraud and two counts of copyright infringement following a seven-day jury trial, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced.
According to evidence presented at trial, Douglas Gordon, 52, the former owner of a chain of video rental stores in eastern Maine, operated three websites from which he made more than $640,000 in sales of over 48,000 counterfeit copies of copyright-protected motion pictures. Representatives of MGM, CBS, Disney, Mercury Pictures and other copyright owners testified that Gordon did not have permission to reproduce and distribute the movies. A senior investigator employed by the Motion Picture Association identified the DVDs as counterfeit.
Based on undercover purchases made from the three websites, execution of search warrants and forensic analysis of computers, investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) identified Gordon as the operator of the online businesses. A series of customers testified at trial that they expected based on website advertisements to receive authorized DVD movies with cover art and a plastic case, but instead received a paper envelope with nothing more than a burned disc with a laser-etched movie title. Several of Gordon’s former video store employees also provided evidence of his unlawful reproduction.
Gordon faces up to 20 years in prison for the mail fraud offense, an additional three years for each of the copyright infringement offenses, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced after completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.
HSI investigated the case, with assistance from the Maine Attorney General’s Office, the Brewer Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Better Business Bureau.