British Trio Sentenced 10 Years For Selling Pirated DVDs19 May, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Three men in the United Kingdom have been sentenced a combined 10 years and seven months prison time for selling pirated DVDs. A fourth man received a suspended 16-month sentence, according to an investigation headed by Suffolk Trading Standards and Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), an IP-protection organization.
Frankie Ansell, Lee Ansell, Howard Davey and Joseph Plant were found guilty of operating a counterfeit disc business that involved fake identities, documents and money laundering distributing more than 31,000 DVDs worth $650,000 (£500,000) over a 30-month period.
Suffolk Trading Standards began an investigation after receiving a complaint from FACT regarding Frankie Ansell. A search of Ansell’s home led to the confiscation of 600 pirated DVDs, electronics devices and the equivalent of $7,400 in cash.
“This was not a typical counterfeit DVD operation,” Graham Crisp, joint head of Trading Standards, said in a statement. “It was sophisticated and well organized. The DVD products were comparable to genuine products as were sold at the correct retail price. All these factors gave consumers the impression they were buying genuine products and should have no reason to think they were being ripped off.”
Indeed, searches of residences for Lee Ansell, Davey and Plant uncovered a “high specification” computer, along with laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Also seized was cash valued at $6,500 (£5,000), gift cards worth $1,600 (£1,250), two DVD copying towers, a laser printer and hundreds of blank DVDs.
“This was no one-man-band operation. This was a serious organized crime group,” said Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT.