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Four Tennessee Residents Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Pirated DVDs

GREENEVILLE, TN -- A Tennessee man indicted in a federal case of conspiracy to violate copyrights by copying and distributing counterfeit motion pictures DVDs pleaded guilty in federal court on July 20, 2011. The defendant, Richard Arnold, is one of four defendants in this case.

Arnold also pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The indictment alleges that Arnold defrauded the SSA to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to which he was not entitled. It is estimated that he received over $59,000 in benefit overpayments.

Also pleading guilty to the charges of conspiracy to violate copyrights were Melissa Arnold, Kristen Bailey, and Reginald Garner.

Each defendant faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and supervised release of three years.

At sentencing, the court will determine restitution as a result of losses occasioned by the defendants' offenses.

U.S. Attorney, William C. Killian, stated, "This investigation reflects the department's commitment to address intellectual property theft and hold responsible those defendants engaged in criminal copyright infringement. My office is also dedicated to the prosecution of those who, through their criminal acts, take advantage of our already over-burdened Social Security Administration."

The May 2011 indictment alleges that the defendants were engaged for over five years in a conspiracy which made unauthorized copies of copyrighted motion pictures on DVDs and the labels for the DVDs, and then sold those pirated DVDs to customers in the Tri-Cities area.

This indictment was the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, SSA, Office of the Inspector General, and Carter County Sheriff's Office.

Published July 21, 2011, 2:35 p.m.

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