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Intellectual Property Rights

Fresno men plead guilty to conspiring to sell counterfeit DVDs and CDs

FRESNO, Calif. — Two Fresno men each face up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to charges stemming from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that revealed they sold thousands of counterfeit DVDs and CDs.

Jose Antonio Hernandez, 41, and Genaro Vela-Rodriguez, 28, pleaded guilty Monday before Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii to one count each of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and traffic in counterfeit labels and counterfeit documentation and packaging. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Z. Carbajal III and Patrick R. Delahunty are prosecuting the case.

According to court documents, Hernandez and Vela-Rodriguez admitted that from July to Sept. 18, 2012, they were involved in an extensive scheme with others to store and distribute thousands of counterfeit DVD movies and audio CDs. Both men admitted selling counterfeit movie DVDs and CDs, including some movies that had not yet been commercially distributed. Defendant Hernandez admitted to manufacturing counterfeit DVD movies.

The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 11.

As the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, HSI plays a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling and distributing counterfeit products. HSI focuses not only on keeping counterfeit products off our streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind such illicit activity.