U.S. Busts – December 2002

RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information

California | Colorado | Florida | Illinois | Louisiana | Maryland | Michigan | Missouri | New Jersey | New York | North Carolina | Ohio | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | South Carolina | Tennessee | Wisconsin | Latin America


December 6, 2002 – Officers from the Fresno, California Police Department, with the assistance of the RIAA, arrested the owner/operator of a retail music store located in the Fulton Mall. The subject was arrested for violation of the California True Name and address statute and 1,135 alleged pirate CD-Rs and cassettes were seized from the store. Authorities later discovered that the subject is the father of a convicted music pirate who is currently serving six years in the California prison system.

December 17, 2002 – With assistance from RIAA investigators, the Atwater Police Department executed search warrants on the residence and vehicles of two subjects connected to a music piracy ring. The two individuals were selling and distributing product to vendors at the Turlock Flea Market and in the general Central California area. Both subjects were arrested and 5,098 alleged pirate CD-Rs were recovered.

December 19, 2002 – In response to Los Angeles retailers in the area of Caesar Chavez & Soto Street complaining about the recent plague of illegal street vendors, local law enforcement and RIAA investigators conducted an investigation into the matter. With the assistance of the LAPD/Hollenbeck Vice Squad, a search warrant was executed on a local supplier/vendor for the area. One suspect was arrested and over 1,100 alleged piratical CD-Rs were seized.

During the course of a three-day span (December 21 – 23), investigators with the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit paid visits to various flea markets in Northern California and Nevada. Seizures were made at the San Joaquin Delta College Swap Meet (Stockton, CA), Stockton Open Air Mall (Stockton, CA), and the El Rancho Drive Flea Market (Sparks, NV). A total of 3,173 illicit sound recordings were confiscated from four vendors who voluntarily surrendered the product. In addition, training was provided and training materials were left with management of each location.


December 28, 2002 – The Adams County Sheriff’s Office seized 250 alleged pirate CD-Rs from a vendor at the Mile High Flea Market in Henderson, Colorado. The vendor is a repeat offender and had been warned previously about his actions. Charges are currently pending.


December 7, 2002 – RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit investigators, along with the Tampa Police Department, seized 3,777 alleged Latin counterfeit CD-Rs that were in plain view at the Fun Land Flea Market. The investigation was initiated as the result of a Bad Beat call to RIAA offices, complaining of vendors selling illegal compact discs at the location. One female was arrested and charged with the Unauthorized Copying of a Recording. Further investigation revealed the suspect was in the U.S. illegally and the INS subsequently placed a hold on her.


December 10, 2002 – A defendant from Skokie, Illinois was placed in a pre-trial diversion program and ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution to the RIAA. He was the principal of a Video retail outlet on West Devon Street in Chicago. Search and seizure warrants served against the location in late 2001, resulted in the seizure of almost 6,000 illicit recordings and six computer systems.


December 1, 2002 – RIAA Anti-Piracy investigators paid a visit to nine retail stores in New Orleans in search of illicit titles that a local manufacturer was distributing to local stores. After speaking with the managers/owners of the stores, all nine locations voluntarily surrendered the piratical material, and a total of 1,020 alleged pirate CD-Rs were recovered.


December 4, 2002 – A defendant from Pasadena, Maryland was found guilty on one count of Counterfeit Trademarking and received a 12 month suspended sentence, 12 months probation, and a $500 fine. She was arrested in July of last year for selling counterfeit CD-Rs at the North Point Flea Market. Authorities confiscated 375 counterfeit CD-Rs and $156 in cash.

December 12, 2002 – A Baltimore man selling CD-Rs out of the trunk of his vehicle was arrested and charged with music piracy violations. Baltimore City Police seized 732 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs.

December 26, 2002 – 3,148 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were seized from a Gwynn Oak Avenue storefront after Baltimore County Police Department detectives and RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit investigators initiated a raid in search of illicit sound recordings. One suspect was apprehended and charged with Trademark Counterfeiting and Unauthorized Sale of a Recording.


December 2, 2002 – A defendant pled guilty to state True Name and Address violations and received two years felony probation and ordered to pay $1,500 restitution to the RIAA. The defendant was arrested by the Detroit Police Department in June of last year after they found him in possession of 204 infringing sound recordings.

December 6, 2002 – In a Detroit courtroom, a defendant pled guilty to True Name and Address charges and was sentenced to 18 months felony probation and $1,500 in restitution to the RIAA. The conviction is the end result of a May arrest in which the Detroit Police Department seized 1,980 pirate CD-Rs from him.


December 13, 2002 – As part of an ongoing investigation of area street vendors, the St. Louis Metro Police Department and the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit detained 2 individuals and seized 176 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs. After questioning, it was discovered that both suspects were under 18 and employed by a company that drops them off at various locations to sell the illicit product. No charges are expected against the juveniles and an investigation into the enterprise is ongoing.

December 18, 2002 – A defendant pled guilty to two separate charges arising from his June 2001 arrest for selling counterfeit CD-Rs on street corners in St. Louis. He was given a suspended sentence and one year probation.

December 19, 2002 – A search warrant was served near the heart of the high traffic street piracy area of St. Louis. Based on assistance from the RIAA, St. Louis Police seized 800 alleged counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs and one CD-R burner from Underground Music World. Artist recordings copied included Nelly, Jay-Z, Cam’ron, Ashanti, and Brandy. Police later confirmed that one of the owners was also wanted for bad checks and has an extensive fraud record.

During the peak of the Christmas shopping season, the O’Fallon Police Department, St. Peter’s Police Department, and St. Charles County Police Department conducted a search warrant at a retail store in St. Peters. 233 alleged unauthorized CD-Rs and four CD-R burners were seized from the store. The store’s owner was arrested and charged with seven counts of receiving stolen property and is expected to be charged with music piracy charges as well. Police further accused the owner of fencing over one million dollars worth of stolen merchandise by buying it from drug addicts through his CD store and then selling the items on the Internet. Criminal charges are pending.

New Jersey

December 10, 2002 – A defendant from Atlantic City, NJ pled guilty to violation of New Jersey’s Anti-Piracy Act and Trademark Counterfeiting Act. He was the owner of a Deli, an establishment that was raided by the New Jersey State Police in early 2002 for fraudulent insurance ID cards. While on the scene, authorities also seized 161 counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs. As a result of the music piracy charges, the court ordered him to pay $250 in restitution to the RIAA.

New York

December 9, 2002 – In what is the largest seizure ever of equipment used to pirate music onto blank CDs in the United States, the U.S. Secret Service, assisted by a team of investigators from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), on Monday morning raided a major music piracy operation in New York City, leading to the capture of 35,000 finished CD-Rs, 10,000 DVDs, the equivalent of 421 CD-R burners and the arrest of three individuals. This operation alone had the potential to cost the industry an estimated $90 million annually.

The raid, executed by a team of several Secret Service agents and RIAA investigators, was the culmination of a two-month joint investigation of a well-organized music piracy operation in Queens, located on 7-28 37th Street. This particular operation was the largest supplier of pirated music to individual vendors, retail locations, and distribution centers on Canal Street in Manhattan, churning out illegal product around the clock with an estimated capacity of at least six million pirated discs each year. Among the three individuals arrested was the leader of the operation. They now face charges of trafficking in counterfeit labels, criminal copyright infringement, and trademark counterfeiting.

Officials also seized eight Rimage Imprinters, one high-end color copier valued at $75,000, and other equipment and raw materials used in the manufacturing process. Approximately 25 percent of the product seized was Latin music.

December 10, 2002 – The NYPD and RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit teamed up to execute a search warrant at a distributor of counterfeit sound recordings. Seven individuals were apprehended and 30,400 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were seized.

December 10, 2002 – A total of 17,400 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were confiscated by the NYPD as the result of an investigation into the distribution of illicit sound recordings. The West 26th Street dwelling was housing recordings that authorities believed were used to supply vendors throughout New York City. One suspect was arrested and charges are currently pending.

December 11, 2002 – The NYPD, assisted by the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, conducted a search warrant at a Flatbush Avenue apartment suspected of serving as a distribution point for unauthorized CD-Rs. 8,000 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs and 3,000 alleged pirate CD-Rs were seized from the address and one suspect was arrested.

December 22, 2002 – After receiving information that an apartment on West 27th Street was operating as a distributor of counterfeit recordings, RIAA investigators and NYPD officers conducted a plain view seizure of the location. 11,000 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were seized and one individual was arrested. Charges are still pending.

North Carolina

December 10, 2002 – A man arrested in June for selling infringing sound recordings at the Great American Flea Market in Fayetteville was sentenced to 45 days in jail, 18 months probation and a $300 fine after pleading guilty to music piracy charges. He was selling the illicit product for $5 apiece. 1,155 pirate and counterfeit CD-Rs were confiscated at the scene.


December 11, 2002 – The East Cleveland Police Department made a plain view seizure from a retail shop on Euclid Avenue. Authorities seized 124 alleged pirate CD-Rs. Charges are currently pending.


December 6, 2002 – Members of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department, assisted by the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, served a search warrant at a retail shop in Oklahoma City, and the owner’s vehicle. 2,868 alleged pirate CD-Rs, two CD-R burners, one computer, stereo equipment, and a 9mm handgun were seized. State True Name and Address charges are pending against the store owner. Infringing titles seized included works by Babyface, Boyz II Men, R. Kelly, Lil Mario, Ashanti, Trick Dadd.


December 7, 2002 – Philadelphia Police officers arrested an individual set up in a vacant Thriftway supermarket parking lot at Broad and Wingohocking Avenue. The vendor was selling CD-Rs from two folding picnic tables. A total of 1,116 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were seized and the suspect was subsequently arrested.

December 27, 2002 – A defendant pled guilty to felony Trademark Counterfeiting charges and was ordered to pay $300 in restitution to the RIAA and sentenced to three years probation. 224 counterfeit CD-Rs were confiscated from him in August of 2002. Officers with the Philadelphia Police Department observed the defendant selling them from a stand located on the corner of Broad and Lehigh Avenue.

South Carolina

December 11, 2002 – A defendant threw himself at the mercy of the court, pleading guilty to violation of South Carolina’s True Name and Address statute. He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $24,000 in restitution to the RIAA. Over 10,000 counterfeit and pirate cassettes and CD-Rs were seized from his storefront, GQ Fashions, back in July.


December 7, 2002 – The RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit assisted the Cleveland, Tennessee Police Department in the arrest of a suspected vendor and distributor of counterfeit recordings. When authorities arrived at the scene, the suspect was caught red-handed, unloading the illicit CD-Rs from his distribution location on Wildwood Avenue. 1,085 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were seized from his vehicle, 272 CD-Rs were seized from the distribution location, and 1,020 CD-Rs were confiscated from a booth the vendor claimed responsibility for at the Cleveland Flea Market. The vendor was charged with a Class C felony.


December 14, 2002 – The Ft. Worth Police Department, assisted by members of the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, executed two search warrants and two plain view seizures at four booths located inside T Mart in Fort Worth, TX. 1,827 alleged pirate CD-Rs, 613 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs, 89 alleged counterfeit audiocassettes, and three CD-R burners were seized. If the three burners operated 8 hours per day, five days per week, they could have produced up to 62,400 piratical CD-Rs resulting in a potential loss of $936,00 to the industry. Three persons were arrested on the scene and charged with violating Texas’ True Name and Address statute. Approximately 90% of the music seized was Rap and Hip Hop and the remaining 10% was Latin.

December 15, 2002 – Members of the Houston PD and RIAA executed plain view seizures at the Flea Market International and arrested three vendors for the sale of pirate CD-Rs. A total of 1,812 recordings were seized from two booths. Authorities confiscated titles from Urban Contemporary and Rap acts such as Trina, Brian McKnight, R. Kelly, 2Pac, Juvenile, Scarface, UGK, and Mystikal.

December 20, 2002 – Bexar County Sheriff’s Investigators assisted by members of the RIAA, conducted plain view seizures of piratical music from three booths at the Highway 90 Flea Market in San Antonio, TX. Seized from the three vendors were 1,740 alleged piratical sound recordings. Among the artists whose works were seized were Santana, Vicente Fernandez, Intocable, Eminem, and other popular artists. Charges against the booth owners/operators will be filed at a later date.

December 21, 2002 – The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by members of the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, conducted a plain view seizure of pirated music at Styles & Sounds in San Antonio, TX. Law enforcement had been advised that the location was selling and distributing illicit sound recordings. A total of 1,943 alleged pirated music recordings were seized from the retail location. Among the artists whose works were being pirated were Lupillo Rivera, Los Razos, Cypress Hill, Delinquent Habits, Fat Joe and others. Approximately 70% of the music seized was Latin Hip Hop & Rap, with the remaining 30% Latin Pop. Charges against the owner will be filed at a later date.


December 2002 – As part of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Customs Office and the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit into the local manufacture and sale of pirate recordings, federal search warrants and seizures were executed against six retail establishments in Milwaukee. A total of 10,480 alleged counterfeit sound recordings, 55 CD-R burners, six computer systems, six printers, four color copiers, and one scanner were seized. Charges are currently pending against the business owners.

Latin America

The RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit continues to make strides in its fight against piracy in Latin America. In the second half of 2002, a total of 11 raids were conducted by Adoprofono, an investigative service currently retained by the RIAA to assist in the fight against piracy in the Dominican Republic. These raids involved nine major distributors and two manufacturing locations. In the sixth month period, 284,000 alleged counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs, 71,950 alleged counterfeit cassettes, 11,000 alleged counterfeit cassette insert cards, eight CD-R burners, and two computers were seized.

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