Lakeland, FL - It's a global counterfeit motion picture DVD investigation that started in Lakeland, and extends to China.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations have confiscated 10,000 counterfeit DVDs, approximately $30,000 in cash, and about $144,000 from two bank accounts.
Photos: Cops raid business, seize thousands of counterfeit DVDs
The amounts from two additional seized bank accounts have yet to be determined. So far, seven people have been charged federally for their roles in the case. Each of the seven previously pleaded guilty, and six of them have already been sentenced.
The feds say the main player in the case was 37-year-old Jian Huang from China. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and trafficking in counterfeit goods, and was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison last fall.
The court also ordered Huang to pay restitution to the Motion Picture Association of America ("MPAA") in the amount of $1,214,333.12.
According to court documents, in 2010 or earlier, Huang and his Chinese-based company ("TM Wholesale") began making bulk sales of counterfeit motion picture DVDs, along with counterfeit packaging, to buyers in the United States and throughout the world.
Huang's counterfeit conspiracy included multiple bulk purchasers in the Lakeland area.
The bulk purchasers would buy the counterfeit DVDs from Huang at approximately $1.28 per unit, and then resell them for $12.
Six of Huang's co-conspirators, include Alex Lee Lim (Lakeland, 37), Robert Edmond Mattie (Winter Haven, 27), James William Ray (Bartow, 35), Donald Kenneth Brown, Jr. (Lakeland, 38), Martin William Grenfell (Lakeland, 49), and Christopher Alexander T. Clark (Lakeland, 47). The six previously pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit labels.
- Lim was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison, and was ordered to pay restitution to the MPAA in the amount of $280,752.67.
- Ray was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, and was ordered to pay $261,541.28 in restitution to the MPAA. Ray was also ordered to forfeit $100,005 in cash seized at the time of his arrest.
- Mattie was sentenced to probation for a term of 5 years, with the first 12 months to be served on home detention.
- Grenfell was sentenced to 3 years' probation and Brown was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to the MPAA.
- Brown was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to the MPAA.
- Clark pleaded guilty on February 8, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3, 2013. He faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison. As part of his plea agreement, Clark has agreed to forfeit $260,470.55 in counterfeit proceeds.
Department of Justice