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Intellectual Property Rights
02/28/2013

7 charged for manufacturing and distributing counterfeit DVD/CDs

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Seven local residents were indicted as a result of the efforts of a multi-agency investigation into intellectual property rights violations.

This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas, and Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Those arrested following this indictment include: William Joseph Henneberger, 32, Ruth Gloria Henneberger, 36, Daniel Justino Diaz, 33, Vanessa Pecina, 30, Leticia Perez Aguilar, 39, Joe Silvas, 43; and Joe Cruz Hernandez, 31, all from Corpus Christi. All were arrested Feb. 22, except for Cruz Hernandez who was arrested Feb. 28. They are expected for an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian L. Owsley March 1.

"Stealing intellectual property is not a victimless crime," said Moskowitz. "Every American should be concerned about copyright infringement offenses since the cost is ultimately borne by the consumer. 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 upon copyrights by reproducing and distributing 10 or more copyrighted works during a 180-day period.

The indictments stem from a yearlong investigation into the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit DVDs and music CDs in the Corpus Christi area. According to the indictment, vendors at a Corpus Christi flea market and a local business allegedly made and distributed counterfeit DVDs and music CDs. 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 and led by HSI, along with Corpus Christi Police Department's Organized Crime Unit, Kingsville (Texas) Specialized Crimes Task Force, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Motion Picture Association of America.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.