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Intellectual Property Rights
02/26/2008

California convenience store owner pleads guilty to selling counterfeit DVDs

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The owner of a Bakersfield convenience store pleaded guilty yesterday to criminal copyright infringement following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Daljit Singh Sidhu, 42, co-owner of the India Currency Exchange and Discount Mart in Bakersfield, admitted he trafficked in counterfeit DVD movies and labels from December 2005 through December 2006. Sidhu pleaded guilty to selling and renting more than 1,500 counterfeit DVDs out of the two businesses. The counterfeit movies were produced by Yash Raj Films, Inc., Video Sound, and Spark Media, Inc. In March 2006, ICE agents executed a search warrant at the co-located businesses, seizing more than 4,000 counterfeit DVDs.

"The trade in counterfeit goods costs legitimate businesses billions of dollars in lost revenue. These illicit proceeds also support other criminal activities in the U.S. and around the world," said Mark Wollman, special agent in charge of the San Francisco ICE office of investigations, which oversees Bakersfield. "ICE investigations focus not only on keeping counterfeit products off U.S. streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind this activity."

Sidhu faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for May 12.