The Department of Justice announced this Thursday that another member of a CD and DVD piracy ring that operated out of Atlanta, GA has been found guilty of trafficking in counterfeit labels and criminal copyright infringement.
The convicted man, Charles Ndhlovu, was part of an illegal distribution ring busted back in 2009 said the DoJ’s Office of Public Affairs in a statement. According to the government organization, the cadre of counterfeiters burned music and movies onto discs in an Atlanta warehouse and packaged them in convincingly forged replicas to fool prospective buyers – which they did en masse. The DoJ said it believes the actual worth of the falsified goods is at least $12 million, though it’s unclear if the criminals actually made anywhere near that amount.
While no mention of the names of his cohorts was made, it seems likely that Ndhlovu, who now faces a possible sentence of 20 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines, was a member of the same 13-man operation that authorities successfully prosecuted earlier this year.
The group, according to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, was possibly “the largest of its kind in the Southeastern United States.” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer speculated that the combined amount of the ring’s illicit goods was worth millions.
In June, Atlanta, GA native Ibrahim Diallo was sentenced to more than three years in prison for his role in the criminal enterprise. Diallo had previously pleaded guilty to the same crimes Ndhvolu was convicted of committing.
The DoJ did not specify when Ndhlovu would be sentenced.
Recent headway into curbing piracy and copyright theft was made on the digital front this month, as ISPs and major media organizations including the MPAA and RIAA unveiled a new “Copyright Alert System” program which will reward those who troll for illegal torrents with anti-piracy literature via email and possible internet speed reductions. The joint effort was applauded by U.S. IP Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, but criticized by others – including the cyber rights crusaders at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.