Newly released titles like "Iron Man" were among the more than $1 million illegally pirated movies confiscated by police last week when they raided six spots in Bayside and Flushing as part of a counterfeiting investigation, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Ten people, including nine from Queens, were arrested and arraigned on counterfeiting charges Friday in Queens Supreme Court for their alleged involvement in the operation, which Brown said was producing thousands of copies of newly released movies, some of which the studios were releasing on the day of the raid.
"This was no small mom-and-pop operation, but a highly sophisticated duplicating operation that could mass produce more than 300 copies of trademarked movies every five minutes, or over 40,000 copies every 12 hours," Brown said. "These counterfeit discs which are clearly of inferior quality could then be sold for between $5 and $10 each, well below the price of the legitimate product, which usually runs around $20."
Brown said more than 70,000 illegally copied DVDs, dozens of computer towers and hundreds of DVD burners were confiscated by police in late, six-night raids last Thursday at 159-06 59th Ave., 132-05 Avery Ave., 61-53 146th Place, 46-12 204th St., 56-06 206th St. and 159-15 45th Ave.
Brown said the illegally copied material collected by police had a street value of more than $1.3 million, and included new films such as "Iron Man," which was released Friday, "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," "88 Minutes," "Leatherheads" and "Run, Fatboy, Run."
"Such trademark counterfeiters defraud the music and motion picture industries of billions of dollars in worldwide revenue, cheat companies and artists out of substantial sums in lost royalties and rip off honest consumers who are forced to pay higher prices for their theatrical and DVD entertainment," Brown said.
Arrested were Kathy Ye, 26, of 49-11 Bowne St. in Flushing; Min Min Huang, 35, of 159-15 45th Ave. in Flushing; Jian Hua Zheng, 32, of 3415 Fulton St. in Brooklyn; Hong Y. Xiao, 32, of 23-14 125th St. in College Point; Meng W. Qu, 31, of 23-14 125th St. in College Point; Yong L. Li, 29, of 46-12 204th St. in Bayside; Xiao Lin Ye, 20, of 102-27 Corona Ave. in Corona; and Xiau D. Xu, 29, Hai Hu Xu, 24, and Jian X. Qu, 31, all of 108-75 41st Ave. in Corona.
Each was charged with criminal possession of a forgery device, second-degree trademark counterfeiting and first-degree failure to disclose the origins of a recording which could bring up to seven years in prison with a conviction, according to the DA.
Additionally, Xiao Lin Ye, Xiao D. Xu, Hai Hu Xu, Qu, Kathy Ye and Huang were charged with first-degree trademark counterfeiting, a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, Brown said.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2008 Community News Group
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