Two men plead guilty to CD counterfeiting
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
April 4, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Federal prosecutors announced in
San Francisco today that two Union City men pleaded guilty in
federal court in San Jose this morning to mass producing pirated
music and software compact discs.
Kevin Ryan, the U.S. attorney for Northern California, said Ye
Teng Wen, 29, and Hao He, 30, were part of "a sophisticated
CD piracy scheme that was distributing hundreds of thousands of
CDs around the country."
Ryan called the case "the largest case involving CD manufacturing
and piracy in the United States today."
He said the two men admitted to mass producing 194,000 pirated
music and software CDs in Hayward and Union City in 2004 and 2005.
Wen and He each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ronald
Whyte to five counts, including pirating conspiracy, trafficking
in counterfeit labels, criminal copyright infringement and criminal
In the fifth count, they pleaded guilty to counterfeiting the
FBI's own anti-piracy seal on the counterfeit music discs.
Ryan said the pirated CDs included mostly Latin music and antivirus
The two men are scheduled to be sentenced by Whyte in San Jose
on Oct. 16. Each count carries a possible maximum of five years
in prison, but the actual penalty will be determined after consideration
of federal sentencing guidelines.
Ryan was joined at a news conference at his office in San Francisco
by Brad Buckles, chief of anti-piracy for the Washington D.C.-based
Recording Industry Association of America. Buckles said, "The
value of this prosecution to the entire music community cannot
He said, "The illegal profits generated by these highly
sophisticated operations come at the expense of the artists, songwriters,
retailers, record labels and many others whose creative energies
make music possible.
"The pleas - stemming from the largest U.S. manufacturing
raid on record - should leave no doubt that the consequences for
theft of this kind are real," Buckles said.
On Oct. 6, federal agents seized a total of nearly 500,000 counterfeited
CDs in 13 locations in California and Texas, including the 194,000
in the South Bay.
A few days later, Wen and He were indicted on a total of 10 criminal
counts. That indictment was replaced last month by a five-count
superseding information to which they pleaded guilty today.
A third defendant, Yacobin Zhai, 33, of Fremont, was separately
indicted in October on seven counterfeiting-related counts. The
charges against him remain pending. His next court appearance
is scheduled in federal court in San Jose on May 22.
Wen and He were described in the charges as "replicators,"
who used a "stamper" or mold for mass production of
pirated music and software CDs and then used silk-screening machines
to counterfeit the artwork on the CDs.
Ryan said one stamper can make 50,000 to 80,000 counterfeit CDs
of a single work. During the raid in the South Bay in October,
authorities seized 2,248 stampers, he said.
The prosecution stemmed from a joint federal, state and local
investigation called Operation Remaster, which targeted large
scale illegal counterfeiting of copyrighted music and software.
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