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Counterfeit video ring busted in Flushing: DA

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Eleven employees from three video stores in Flushing were arrested in late June and charged with reproducing thousands of counterfeit tapes of popular movies like “The Matrix” and “American Pie,” the Queens district attorney said last week.

The workers were arrested June 30 at the three stores in Flushing, where the police recovered 265 VCRs and 1,750 videotapes, said Richard Brown, the Queens district attorney. In addition, the police seized $1,500 from the three businesses.

“Cranking out pirated video tapes fleeces the motion picture industry of millions of dollars each year,” Brown said in a statement. “It also ultimately impacts on honest consumers through higher prices.”

The district attorney identified the stores where the seizures were made as Laser Visual City at 41-78B Main St.; Laser Video at 136-51 41st Ave.; and North American Entertainment at 136-15B 41st Ave. The 11 defendants have been charged with trademark counterfeiting, among other things, and each face up to four years in prison if convicted.

Mary de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Queens DA, said counterfeit movies are typically produced in one of two ways: from individuals who sit in movie theaters with video cameras and tape directly off the film screen or from advance copies of movies that are obtained by the counterfeiters and copied onto VHS cassette tapes.

She was uncertain how the movies in this case, including ones such as “Space Cowboys,” “The Pledge,” “The Matrix,” and “American Pie,” were copied.

Law enforcement officials said the illegal reproduction of videotapes in general is a large problem in New York City, particularly in Queens. The officials said the Queens district attorney’s office may handle as many as six such prosecutions over the course of a year.

The defendants were identified as Jianqiong Ma, 22, of 42-45 Forley St. in Elmhurst; Johnny Cheung, 35, of 233-15 39th Ave. in Douglaston; Xinyun Zheng, 23, of 133-36 41st Rd. in Flushing; Li-Xin Cheung, 35, of 233-15 38th Ave. in Douglaston; Ying Liu, 38, of 133-24 Sanford Ave. in Flushing; Jie Lin, 26, of 144-30 Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing; Sarah Kan, 19, of 10-25 Seneca Ave. in Ridgewood; Wei Chen, 45, of 134-04 Cherry Ave. in Flushing; Kok-Peow Lim, 32, of 41-16 Parsons Blvd. in Flushing; Yan Huang, 21, of 2071 79th St. in Brooklyn; and Cha Shen, 46, whose address was unknown.

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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