U.S. Busts – March 2003

RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information

Arizona | California | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Illinois | Kentucky | Maryland | New York | Ohio | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Texas | Tennessee | Virginia | Wisconsin


March 12, 2003 – Officers from the Mesa Police Department executed two criminal search warrants in the city of Mesa, Arizona. The warrant execution was the result of a three-month investigation into the manufacture and distribution of unauthorized compact discs. While being assisted by investigators from the Recording Industry Association of America, authorities seized 17 CD-R burners, 4,200 finished CD-R’s, 487 Master CD’s, 2,805 counterfeit inserts, and various raw product.


March 1, 2003 – 1,460 alleged counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs were seized from a man selling at a Bart Station platform in Oakland. An arrest warrant and charges are pending.

March 7, 2003 – Pursuant to an ongoing investigation, investigators with the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit assisted the Sacramento High Tech Crimes Task Force in the execution of a multiple location search warrant in the Sacramento area. The four-month investigation revealed subjects who were selling and distributing counterfeit compact discs at an area flea market. Seized during the enforcement action were 8,300 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs, 28 CD-R burners, four computer systems, three color printers, one shrink-wrap machine, and over 200 masters. As a result of these criminal actions, the market manager will no longer allow any music vendors on his property.

March 11, 2003 – RIAA investigators assisted the L.A. County Sheriff-s Department NORSAT Team with a multi-location search warrant. Authorities searched a suspect-s Rockwood residence and his distribution location on Ford Street. Over 4,600 alleged illicit CD-Rs were recovered and two individuals were arrested. (WRO-030468)

March 27, 2003 – A Los Angeles resident caught with hundreds of counterfeit recordings in his possession was sentenced to 90 days in county jail. The Los Angeles Police Department and RIAA investigators arrested the defendant during an August 2002 street sweep of vendors along Wilshire Boulevard. 491 piratical CD-Rs were seized during the enforcement.


March 12, 2003 – An Elsmere, Delaware record storeowner pled guilty to one count of True Name and Address and Forgery. He was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to make restitution to the RIAA in the amount of $500. The Elsmere Police Department was originally called to the defendant-s retail location in October 2002 to investigate an overnight burglary. While collecting evidence, piratical material was observed, including 711 counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs and one CD-R burner.


March 12, 2003 – The Miami Police Department, assisted by the RIAA, seized a total of 1,583 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs from two vendors in the Miami area. Days earlier, both vendors were spotted selling infringing product during the Calle Ocho Festival. Both vendors were arrested and charged with Unauthorized Copying.

March 15, 2003 – The Orange County Sheriff-s Office, assisted by members of the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, seized 5,668 alleged counterfeit/pirated CD-Rs and three CD-R burners from the Orlando Flea Market. Nine individuals were arrested under Florida statute 540.11.3(a)(3), Unauthorized Copying of a Recording.

March 15, 2003 – The Metro Dade Police Department, assisted by RIAA investigators, seized 6,611 alleged counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs from a vendor selling the product along NW 17th Avenue in Miami. The individual was charged with Unauthorized Copying of a Recording.


March 13, 2003 – The DeKalb County Police arrested two individuals during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 20. During questioning, authorities observed several boxes of compact discs in the vehicle. A total of 1,936 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were seized in plain view including titles from Ja Rule and Jay Z.


March 1, 2003 – A CD and record show held at a Countryside, IL hotel was the site of enforcement action against vendors selling unauthorized sound recordings. The Cook County Sheriff’s Police, with assistance from RIAA investigators, affected four arrests and seized in excess of 4,000 bootleg CD-Rs and VHS tapes. Cease and desist letters will be sent to the hotel and the corporate headquarters of the record show.

March 6, 2003 – Officers of the Chicago Police Department entered a storefront on North Western Avenue and conducted a plain view seizure of thousands of infringing sound recordings. A total of 4,363 alleged piratical CD-Rs and cassettes were seized.


March 5, 2003 – The Indianapolis Police Department executed a state search warrant at a business location on West 16th Street. The owner was arrested and authorities seized thousands of CD-Rs. Despite receiving both written and verbal cease and desist notices from the RIAA in 2002, the store failed to comply. As a result of the enforcement, the owner was arrested and eight duplicating machines, six CD-R burners, one printer, one scanner, and 2,218 alleged infringing sound recordings were confiscated.


March 8, 2003 – RIAA investigators surveyed the premises of two flea markets in the cities of Burnside and Somerset. Several booths were selling illicit versions of 50 Cent, Kid Rock, Faith Hill, U2, George Strait and the Dixie Chicks for as low as $5 apiece. A total of six vendors were handed cease and desist letters. In addition, investigators met with the flea market managers to discuss their findings.


March 21, 2003 – The Baltimore City Police Department, accompanied by RIAA Anti-Piracy investigators, executed a search warrant at an East Monument Street wholesale location. A total of 5,456 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were found on the premises. In addition, $2,795 in cash was confiscated from two suspects. Both men were arrested and charged with Counterfeit Trademarking and True Name and Address violations.

New York

March 6, 2003 – The NYPD, assisted by investigators with the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, executed a search warrant at a city retailer that resulted in one arrest and the recovery of 2,523 alleged counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs. The arrested suspect was charged with Trademark Counterfeiting. Recordings recovered included Brenda K. Starr, Marc Anthony, Frank Reyes, 50 Cent, NAS, R. Kelly, and LL Cool J.

March 13, 2003 – As a result of information received that a West 36 Street location was operating as a distributor of unauthorized sound recordings, RIAA investigators initiated a search warrant. The NYPD arrested four individuals and seized 18,600 CD-Rs. Artist recordings recovered included Lionel Richie, Eminem, the O-Jays, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, 50 Cent, Enrique Iglesias, and Marc Anthony.

March 19, 2003 – The NYPD executed a search warrant on West 32nd Street resulting in the arrest of one individual and the seizure of 14,200 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs. Titles from Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, Aretha Franklin, 50 Cent, Jaheim, Oscar DeLeon, Anthony Santos, and Serena were recovered.

March 25, 2003 – Members of the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit assisted the NYPD in the execution of two search warrants at two retail locations on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn. The action resulted in the seizure of 1,844 alleged unauthorized CD-Rs and two photocopiers. A total of four individuals were arrested. Recordings from Christina Aquilera, 50 Cent, Sean Paul, Lil Kim and Eminem were confiscated.


March 4, 2003 – While executing a narcotics search warrant, the Cleveland Police Department found possibly infringing recordings at a St. Clair Street address. 237 CD-Rs were seized and one suspect was arrested. Charges are currently pending.

March 12, 2003 – The Cleveland Police Department seized 247 alleged pirate CD-Rs from a vendor on 55th and St. Clair. Police charged the subject with failure to have a peddler-s license.


March 29, 2003 – Officers from the Salem Police Department, assisted by RIAA investigators, raided a Salem swap market. The raids were conducted following complaints from local retailers about the sale of unauthorized CDs at the market. Five people were taken into custody and over 3,000 CDs were seized. All will be charged with violation of Oregon’s True Name and Address statute.


March 13, 2003 – After ignoring a verbal cease and desist order from the Darby Police Department, a vendor was apprehended for selling counterfeit music in the vicinity of 69th & Market Streets. A search of his belongings disclosed 245 CD-Rs. The subject was taken into custody and charged with trademark counterfeiting. The first offense occurred twelve days prior, when 205 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs were seized from the subject.

March 13, 2003 – The Philadelphia Police Department and RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit investigators arrested a subject on the 1000 block of West Erie Avenue for selling possibly infringing counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs. Seized by the arresting officers were 478 CD-Rs. The subject will be charged with counterfeiting and trademark violations.

March 20, 2003 – A Philadelphia man pled guilty to three counts of music piracy and was sentenced to two years probation and $500 in restitution to the RIAA. The Frankford Avenue street vendor was found in possession of 68 counterfeit and pirate CD-Rs last July.


March 25, 2003 – A Memphis, Tennessee man was found guilty of Criminal Simulation, a Class A misdemeanor. The defendant was sentenced to pay $400 in restitution to the RIAA. In January 2003, the suspect was stopped by the Nashville Police Department for use of altered registration plates. During a search incident to arrest, authorities discovered 376 counterfeit CD-Rs.


March 8, 2003 – The Bexar County Sheriff Investigators, assisted by members of the RIAA, conducted plain view seizures of three booths selling pirated music at a local flea market. A total of 1,147 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs and 722 alleged pirate CD-Rs were seized from three vendors. In connection with one of the booths, a search warrant was executed at a residence where 34 possibly infringing CD-Rs, one printer, and a computer system with a 24-speed burner were seized. Charges against the vendors will be filed at a later date.

March 9, 2003 – Patrol officers with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office stopped a driver for a traffic violation and during an inventory search of his vehicle, discovered 181 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs. The product was seized and RIAA investigators were subsequently notified. The product was 100% Urban Contemporary and contained artists such as Ja Rule, 2Pac, and R. Kelly.

March 9, 2003 – The Texas Police Department, assisted by members of the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, conducted plain view seizures at a flea market in Mission, Texas. 2,559 alleged counterfeit and pirate recordings, one CD-R burner, one stereo system and one mixing board were seized from four vendors. Three of the individuals were arrested on the scene and charged with True Name and Address violations. A fourth suspect, who unsuccessfully attempted to pack her belongings and elude law enforcement, will be charged at a later date.

March 9, 2003 – The Texas Dept. of Public Safety, Special Crimes, assisted by members of the RIAA, conducted plainview seizures of six booths at a Mission, Texas flea market. Seized were 4,231 alleged pirate CD-Rs and 81 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs. Also seized from one of the booths was a stand-alone 24x speed CD-R burner. If the burner were operated ten hours a day, 5 days a week, it could have produced up to 48,649 piratical CD-Rs annually, resulting in a $729,735 potential loss to the industry. Five subjects were arrested and charged with violating Texas’s True Name and Address statute. Approximately 80% of the product seized was Latin music and the remainder Rap and Hip Hop. Jennifer Pena, Kumbia Kings, Vicente Fernandez, Paulina Rubio and other popular artists were among those whose works were being pirated.

March 14, 2003 – A lead received by the El Paso Police Department on a stolen U-Haul trailer was discovered to contain over 1,000 illegal recordings. An inspection of the trailer disclosed 1,244 alleged pirate CD-Rs and 112 alleged counterfeit cassettes. The product was of the Latin and Urban Contemporary genres and contained artists such as Vicente Fernandez, Lupillo Rivera, Alberto Y Roberto, Shaggy, 2Pac, Ja Rule, and others. Charges are pending against the person in possession of the trailer at the time of detainment.


March 18, 2003 – The Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel Police and Virginia State Police seized 790 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs as a result of a vehicle stop on the Bay Bridge. Three suspects were arrested at the scene and charged with felony counts of True Name and Address and Unauthorized Duplication. Bond was denied and the suspects are in custody at an Eastville, VA jail.

March 18, 2003 – A music store on Engleside Drive was the target of a search and seizure warrant conducted by the Norfolk Police Department. One CD-R burner and 771 CD-Rs believed to be counterfeit were recovered. One subject was arrested and charged with felony True Name and Address violations.


March 21, 2003 – In a Milwaukee courtroom, a suspected music pirate was sentenced, having previously entered a guilty plea to an indictment charging him with Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods. The defendant received two years probation with the first six months to be served on home confinement with work release privileges. The sentencing originates from a June 2002 seizure in which titles from Bush, Eric Clapton, Sting, and Stabbing Westward were recovered.

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