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30/07/2009

DVD Piracy Gang Jailed

Jail sentences imposed on those behind a sophisticated fake DVD racket that had already cost the film and TV industry £millions have been welcomed.
Kieron Sharp, Director of the anti-piracy group FACT, said: "This was not a small scale business.
"This was a well run and highly organised criminal enterprise with links to international crime gangs that are impacting on the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of people who work in the UK film and TV industries."
He was commenting as a father and his two sons who ran the scam were jailed.
Sami Sheikh, 28, and brother Rafi, 26, of North Chingford, east London, were both jailed for six years after earlier being found guilty of conspiring to break copyright laws and trademark laws.
They were also convicted of acquiring criminal property between 2003 and 2006.
Meanwhile, their father - who lived at the same address as his sons - was convicted of the copyright plot and jailed for four years.
A fourth man, 34-year-old Xin Li, of Victoria Road, Walthamstow, east London, was found guilty of concealing criminal property. He was sentenced to two years and three months in prison.
The gang pulled off Britain's biggest piracy DVD scam, and during the "sophisticated" operation made £7 million.
They imported equipment from the Far East to copy new films including Ice Age 2, Iron Man and the Da Vinci Code to the "best industry standards possible".
The operation was uncovered when police discovered a large factory and £130,000 in cash along with a number of Chinese immigrants working on the Kimberley Industrial Estate, in Cheney Road, Walthamstow.
Equipment at premises in Leyton and Walthamstow was also uncovered, along with around £106,000 hidden in cash in the Sheik's house.
Detective Chief Superintendent Nigel Mawer, who was leading the investigation, said: "This is the result of three years' hard work and investigation into the activity of an extensive criminal network.
"Film piracy is not a victimless crime and it is crucial that the public ask themselves if they want to play a part in the exploitation of vulnerable people by buying illegal DVDs."
(JM/BMcC)
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