A con man who was identified following a joint Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT)and Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) investigation into the sale counterfeit DVD box sets has today (8 Jan) been found guilty at Southwark Crown Court.
Adeel Arshad, 33 (30.10.85) of Bordesley Heath in Birmingham, will be sentenced on 19 February for Copyright infringement, following the City of London Police unit investigation.
In September 2013, investigators from FACT identified that Arshad was selling counterfeit DVDs via an anonymous tip off to Crimestoppers from a member of the public. A joint investigation with specialist PIPCU detectives from the City of London Police was then launched. It identified that Arshad, had set up a number of PayPal accounts to sell over 2,000 mainstream counterfeit DVDs on the internet, including titles such as Game of Thrones, Broadwalk Empire, Criminal Minds and Breaking Bad. The total revenue from these accounts equated approximately £100,000.00. The most expensive single item in his sales collection was season 10 of NCIS worth £69.00.
Officers executed a search warrant at Arshad’s home address on 13 September 2013 during which he was arrested alongside a male associate. DVDs worth in the region of £40,000 were located and seized at the address along with £350 in cash. A franking machine was also recovered which directly linked the fraudulent box sets to the address via the machine’s unique serial number.
Arshad was subsequently charged. The second man arrested failed to return on police bail and enquiries into tracing his whereabouts are currently ongoing.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister for intellectual property, said: “Today’s conviction shows that the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and its partners are continuing to deliver results. This decision should serve as a warning that this type of criminal activity will be firmly dealt with and it will not be tolerated by this government.”
Detective Peter Ratcliffe, head of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), said: “Had it not been for the identification and swift intervention by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and Federation Against Copyright Theft, many more unsuspecting customers would have been duped by Arshad into believing that the DVDs were genuine.
“We know that the money generated in the fake goods industry also funds gangs who are often affiliated with serious organised crime. Whilst the majority of web based sales are legitimate, PIPCU monitor a multitude of sales sites to ensure that online shoppers are dealing with vendors who are selling genuine goods. Protecting British consumers and the creative industry from criminals who break copyright laws and exploit the public’s trust remains a priority for the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and the Intellectual Property Office.”
Kieron Sharp, Director General of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) said: “The creative industries support more than 1.8 million jobs in the UK, however criminal operations such as Arshad’s counterfeit DVD business, deprives the film and TV industry of revenue and puts the livelihoods of those working in it at risk.
“FACT works to protect the rights of its members and values the partnership with the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) in supporting our work to combat copyright infringement.”