(Phoenix, Ariz. - March 17, 2004) Attorney General Terry Goddard announced the indictment of Joseph Hwang and Jefferson L. Rice for fraudulent schemes and artifices, computer tampering, theft and unlawful copying or sale of sounds or images from recording devices. The indictment alleges that Hwang and Rice were selling pirated movies over eBay, an Internet auction Web site.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office worked in conjunction with the Motion Picture Association of America on the investigation, and seized approximately 10,500 DVD disks and video tapes from the defendant’s north Phoenix apartment.
The investigation was prompted by consumers filing complaints with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and the Internet Fraud Complaint Center when victims either didn’t receive the items they ordered or when the quality was noticeably lower.
“It is important that consumers know they have places to turn when they think they’ve been defrauded,” said Goddard. “This case demonstrates my resolve to protect consumers from being taken advantage of over the Internet.”
Arizona consumers can contact the Attorney General’s Office at www.ag.state.az.us if they suspect they’ve been sold a pirated DVD or video tape. They can also contact the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.ifccbi.gov.
If convicted, Hwang and Rice could serve up to 10 years for fraudulent schemes and artifices and up to seven years for computer tampering, theft, and unlawful copying or sale of sounds or images from recording devices. Assistant Attorney General Todd C. Lawson is assigned to this case.