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August 30, 2016Portland, OR, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

Former Eugene couple sentenced for selling, distributing bootlegged DVDs

PORTLAND, Ore. – A former Eugene couple convicted of importing and using the internet to sell more than $400,000 worth of counterfeit DVDS of Disney movies and TV shows have been sentenced in federal court, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Sidney A. Lucas, 34, was sentenced Aug. 25 to 33 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $100,000 derived from the counterfeit DVD distribution and money laundering scheme. His co-conspirator and girlfriend, Katrice R. Cleary, 24, was sentenced Aug. 26 to three years’ supervised release and ordered to forfeit $50,000.

HSI special agents, in conjunction with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), initiated an investigation into a Eugene-based online business suspected of selling counterfeit DVDs. Lucas was subsequently identified as the owner of Elements Wholesale Media, an online distributor of counterfeit DVDs that operated out of his Eugene home. Cleary was determined to be actively involved with the management of the company’s website.

Despite receiving notices that the DVDs they purchased from China were counterfeit, the couple continued selling them through the Elements Wholesale Media website. Following those notices and the seizures of several packages, Lucas and Cleary abruptly moved their online business and residence to Laconia, New Hampshire, where they continued to receive packages from China containing counterfeit DVDs.

HSI special agents executed search warrants at the couple’s New Hampshire residence in April 2015, seizing evidence and arresting both Lucas and Cleary.

“Those who profit from the theft of other’s products, creativity, ideas and hard work will be held accountable for their actions,” said Steve Cagen, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “We take every incident of intellectual property theft seriously as proceeds can and have been used to finance other criminal enterprises. HSI special agents are trained to detect and thwart this type of illegal activity and we’re committed to assisting our industry partners in doing just that.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the MPAA assisted HSI in the investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon prosecuted the case.

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 U.S. streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind this activity.

Updated: 09/07/2016