LONG BEACH, Calif. – Strike two at a Filipino video store in Long Beach.
Law enforcement officials raided FLB Video for the second time in seven months for manufacturing and selling bootlegged movies.
Enforcers recovered more duplicating material and pirated goods.
They also booked the store’s owner Fernando Legaspi Bernabe, who did not want to speak to Balitang America.
FLB was first raided in May when about 5,000 DVDs, including ABS-CBN movies and TV shows, as well as copying devices were seized.
Legaspi and his wife were arrested then, and after a plea deal they were put on felony probation.
“He continued to sell pirated DVDs, so today we concluded that investigation with another search warrant,” said Lt. Geoff Deedrick, of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
Search warrants were served at Bernabe’s home office just down the street from the video store, where more pirated products were seized.
Under the alleged scheme, Bernabe would illegally copy Filipino and American DVDs and sell them for $10 apiece. Investigators claim he often filled orders of movies on demand.
“We found multiple burners, to blank CDs, and to where this suspect was burning and making their own copies from the authentic products, and burning the pirated DVDs to sell,” said Lt. Deedrick.
Internationally, movie piracy siphons $500 billion from companies into the underground industry, and in some cases, it funds terrorism and gang activity.
“A counterfeited product in the marketplace not only hurts the person that makes it, it also takes money out of the economy and it creates this underground economy which has fiscal implications through many cities,” continued Lt. Deedrick.
As an alleged repeat offender, Bernabe, a former city council candidate, now faces possible jail time.
Authorities also found a gun registered under his name, which should have been turned in as part of his initial probation.