HARTFORD, Conn. — A Windsor, Connecticut, man was sentenced in federal court Aug. 27 to 18 months in prison for manufacturing and trafficking counterfeit DVDs and CDs, the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
John W. Rice, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Rice was sentenced for producing and selling thousands of pirated CDs and DVDs.
According to the investigation, between 2000 and 2013, doing business as "Dr. Jay's Entertainment," Rice manufactured copies of motion pictures, television shows and music that were copyrighted works, using recordable blank DVDs and CDs. Rice also produced labels for the discs and paper inserts for the cases in which the pirated works were sold. Rice set up tables in various locations on which he displayed and sold the bootlegged merchandise, and also advertised and sold the materials over the Internet through Facebook.
HSI special agents seized a total of 8,913 DVDs and 11,410 CDs from Rice and Dr. Jay's Entertainment.
For the past 13 years, the sale of counterfeit media has constituted Rice's only source of income, and Rice has admitted that he could make up to $300,000 annually from the illegal sales.
Rice also structured cash deposits into his bank account. In addition, in November 2012, Rice withdrew from his account $39,237.23 in cash derived from his criminal activity in order to purchase a cashier's check payable to BMW of West Springfield.
"As this sentence makes clear, Rice and criminals like him are a direct threat to the entertainment industry and to all of the hardworking people involved in the industry," said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. "Those involved in intellectual property theft don't invest in product development. They don't put a premium on product quality or safety. All they do is get rich at someone else's expense. Intellectual property thieves should be aware that HSI and our law enforcement partners will use every available tool to keep them from profiting from the theft of others' products, creativity, ideas and hard work."
As a result of the investigation, Rice has forfeited $48,195.42 seized from his bank account, as well as a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette and a 2012 BMW 650i that he had purchased, but had registered in the names of third-parties.
On April 25, Rice pleaded guilty to one count of criminal copyright infringement and one count of money laundering.