Four Accused Of Making 10 Percent Of Nation’s Illegal Tapes
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Prosecutors say four men charged in a music bootlegging case made 10 percent of the illegally recorded cassette tapes in the United States and are responsible for losses of up to $32 million to the recording industry.
The men were indicted Friday on federal charges including copyright infringement, trafficking in counterfeit goods and labels, and conspiracy.
U.S. Attorney Robert Bonner alleged the men made and distributed hundreds of thousands of unauthorized copies of such hit albums as ″True Colors″ by Cyndi Lauper, ″The Bridge″ by Billy Joel and ″Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits.″
FBI raids on bootleg factories in Los Angeles and Ontario, Calif., turned up more than 800,000 empty cassette boxes, 78,000 labeled counterfeit cassettes and more than 500,000 counterfeit labels, Bonner said. Follow-up searches last week produced more than 1 million counterfeit cardboard inserts and 2,000 recorded tapes, he said.
The counterfeit tapes, which resemble the real thing but have inferior sound quality, were sold for $3 apiece to dealers who retailed them through flea markets and other means as far east as Chicago, prosecutors said.
Bonner estimated the operation cost legitimate record companies and musicians between $16 million and $32 million in the past year.
The Recording Industry Association of America estimates the business loses about $300 million a year to piracy, said spokeswoman Patricia Heimers.
Indicted were Krikor Avak Avakian, 42, of Van Nuys, a Lebanese national, Rosendo Villasenor Fregoso, 55, and Rosendo Villasenor Galvan, 34, both of Ontario, Calif., and Roberto Fonseca, 28, of Los Angeles.
The indictment alleged Avakian kept a catalog of more than 2,000 English and Latin music titles in his two businesses, Tough Sound Manufacturing and Press Masters. He is accused of providing blank cassettes to the others, who allegedly recorded the bootleg cassettes at the factories that were raided.