SAN JOSE -- The counterfeit DVDs for sale in the back room of a fashion store in San Jose included "Avatar" and "The Fighter," at a cost of two for $4 or four for $8.
Those two movies were purchased by an undercover FBI agent in February 2011, part of an investigation that has resulted in the store's owner being sentenced to 27 months in prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice and federal court records.
Ricardo Blanco, 28, of San Jose, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court and was also ordered to pay $200,200 in restitution for criminal copyright infringement, according to the DOJ.
Blanco pleaded guilty to the charge in April, and as part of a plea agreement admitted that he sold unauthorized DVD copies of movies such as "Cars 2," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," and "X Men," according to the DOJ.
Blanco admitted he sold the counterfeit movies from about May 4, 2011, through July 14, 2011, at his store called Mia's Fashions, located on Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose. Blanco also admitted that he manufactured thousands of unauthorized copies to sell in his store and hired several individuals to make copies of the movies in a room at a residence located on South King Road, according to authorities.
FBI agents served a search warrant at the house and store on July 14, 2011, and seized 3,000 counterfeit DVDs from Mia's Fashion's and about 1,000 counterfeit DVDs from the residence on Story Road, according to a court
One of Blanco's employees told FBI agents that he was paid about $300 a week to burn movies onto DVDs, place them into cases and shrink wrap the DVDs with irons. The employee told the FBI he burned 1,000 movies a day from inside the Story Road residence.
In addition to the prison sentence and restitution, Blanco was ordered to forfeit 20,750 counterfeit movies, $53,115 in cash and all of the equipment used to manufacture the unauthorized DVDs, according to the DOJ.
Restitution will be paid to the Motion Picture Association of America.
Blanco has been in custody since July 15, 2011, and will immediately begin serving his sentence.
Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMgomez.