Several Charged In Counterfeit DVD/CD Investigation
An Indictment Is A Formal Accusation Of Criminal Conduct, Not Evidence. Defendants Are Presumed Innocent Unless And Until Convicted Through Due Process Of Law.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Seven Corpus Christi residents have been indicted as a result of the efforts of a multi-agency investigation into intellectual property rights violations, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Those arrested today include William Joseph Henneberger, 32, Ruth Gloria Henneberger, 36, Daniel Justino Diaz, 33, Vanessa Pecina, 30, Leticia Perez Aguilar, 39, and Joe Silvas, 43. They are expected to an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian L. Owsley tomorrow afternoon.
One remaining defendant, Joe Cruz Hernandez, 31, is also charged but not yet in custody. He is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact HSI at 1-800-973-2867.
“The theft of intellectual property is not a victimless crime and copyright infringement offenses should be of concern to every American with the cost ultimately borne by the consumer,” said Moskowitz. “The collaboration between law enforcement and industry seen in this operation should leave no doubt that we are committed to protecting the rights of those who play by the rules.”
The indictment alleges the defendants infringed copyrights by reproducing and distributing 10 or more copyrighted works during a 180-day period.
The indictments stem from a year-long investigation into the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit DVDs and music CDs in the Corpus Christi area. Vendors at a Corpus Christi flea market and a local business were identified as being involved in the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit DVDs and music CDs, according to the indictment. As a result, agents obtained federal search warrants in August 2012 for three residences and local business known as Bomb Records, all located in Corpus Christi. The indictment alleges that during the execution of the warrants, agents seized more than 58,000 pirated DVDs and CDs along with production materials including computers and DVD duplicators.
The defendants face up to five years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000, if convicted.
The investigation leading to the criminal charges was conducted in Corpus Christi lead by HSI, Corpus Christi Police Department Organized Crime Unit, Kingsville Specialized Crimes Task Force, Customs and Border Protection, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hugo R. Martinez.