Three men jailed for more than 10 years following pirate DVD scam
- Credit: Archant
Three men, including one from Suffolk, who were involved in a £500,000 pirate DVD scam have been given jail sentences totalling more than 10 years.
The men managed the sophisticated counterfeit DVD business over a two-and-half-year period selling over 30,000 DVD’s, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
The operation involved money laundering and the use of multiple fake identities and paperwork, said Alison Lambert, prosecuting.
Before the court were: Frankie Ansell, 29, of Grove Road, Beccles, who admitted conspiracy to defraud and was jailed for 45 months; his cousin Lee Ansell, 38, of Loughborough, who admitted conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and possessing an article for use in fraud and was jailed for 41 months and Howard Davey, 25, from Eastbourne, who admitted conspiracy to defraud and possessing articles for use in fraud and was also jailed for 41 months.
Also before the court was Joseph Plant, 35, of Loughborough who admitted conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, and was given a 16 month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.
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Suffolk Trading Standards began the investigation when they received a complaint concerning Frankie Ansell and the sale of counterfeit DVDs. A search of his home in Beccles followed and led to the seizure of £5,670 in cash, 600 counterfeit DVD titles, and electronic devices.
Officers then identified other individuals involved. Warrants were executed for Lee Ansell and Joseph Plant in Leicestershire and Howard Davey in Eastbourne. These resulted in the seizure of a high specification computer, along with laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
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Also seized was £5,000 in cash, £1,250 worth of gift cards, two DVD copying towers, a laser printer, as well as hundreds of blank DVDs.
After today’s sentencing hearing Graham Crisp, Joint Head of Trading Standards, said: “This was not a typical counterfeit DVD operation. It was sophisticated and well organised.
“The DVD products were comparable to genuine products as were sold at the correct retail price. All these factors gave consumers the impression they were buying genuine products and should have no reason to think they were being ripped off.
“I would like to praise the Trading Standards team for all their hard work in this case and for bringing these fraudsters to justice and I would also like to thank the National Trading Standards Regional Investigation Team and FACT for all the support that they have provided in this investigation.
Kieron Sharp, Chief Executive of FACT, said: “This was no one-man-band operation. This was a serious organised crime group who sold tens of thousands of DVDs pocketing more than £650,000 in criminal money.
“Many people think piracy is a victimless crime, however criminal operations like this have devastating effects on the creative industries and the people working in them.
“We would like to commend Suffolk Trading Standards for leading this investigation and will continue to work with trading standards and police forces across the country to crackdown on film/TV piracy.”