United States Attorney Carol C. Lam today announced the unsealing of an indictment charging nine defendants with conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods. JOHN THOMAS FONTANINI, MARTHA PATRICIA ORTA CANALES, ROXANA NOEMI PEREZ TORRES, OCTAVIO CAMPOY FLORES, RONNA ELAINE FARIS, CHRISTINE RHODES FARIS, OSCAR LOYAL FARIS, CHARLES ALAN DORCHEUS and WAYDEN FINK are charged in a one-count indictment with engaging in a conspiracy to distribute counterfeit Microsoft Software. Included in the indictment is a $1,579,350.42 criminal forfeiture allegation. The indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to sell counterfeit Microsoft software and that the $1.5 million in proceeds received from the sale of the counterfeit software is subject to Government forfeiture.
According to Assistant United States Attorneys John Parmley and Richard Cheng, who are prosecuting the case, the defendants sold large amounts of computer software bearing counterfeit Microsoft markings and packaging to buyers who responded to advertisements placed by some of the defendants in major metropolitan newspapers nationwide. Typically, the defendants sold counterfeit software such as Microsoft Office 2000 for 15% of the $500.00 retail value.
Four of the defendants were arrested today in San Diego, California, Phoenix, Arizona, and Bedford, Texas. One defendant, Charles Dorcheus, was previously arrested last month at his home in Cabazon, California. In addition to the four arrests today, agents executed 13 search warrants in San Diego and Texas.
The one defendant who was arrested locally, JOHN THOMAS FONTANINI, is scheduled to be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Louisa S. Porter, on March11, 2003 at 10:30 a.m.
These arrests are the result of a two-year investigation known as .Operation Office Pirate,. conducted locally by both the San Diego Computer and Technology Crime High Tech Response Team (C.A.T.C.H.) and the Internal Revenue Service. C.A.T.C.H. is a task force run under the direction of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office which includes individuals from several local, state, and federal agencies, including: the California Department of Justice, California Department of Motor Vehicles, Defense Criminal Investigative Agency, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Office of the Inspector General, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, SanDiego County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Secret Service. Significant portions of the investigation were also conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Also assisting in the arrests were agents from SanDiego County Probation, Carlsbad Police Department, and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
United States Attorney Carol C. Lam praised the extensive cooperation between federal, state and local authorities in this case and said, .The protection of intellectual property is important to the health of our economy and our marketplace of ideas. It continues to be a high priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office..
DEFENDANTS The Defendants who have been arrested are: John Thomas Fontanini Date of Birth: 6/6/62 Residence: San Diego, CA Christine Rhodes Faris Date of Birth: 7/29/29 Residence: Bedford, TX Oscar Loyal Faris Date of Birth: 3/29/30 Residence: Bedford, TX Charles Allen Dorcheus Date of Birth: 9/27/58 Residence: Cabazon, CA Wayden Fink Date of Birth: 6/3/55 Residence: Phoenix, AZ Four Defendants remain at large. Martha Patricia Orta Canales Date of Birth: 6/8/65 Residence: Tijuana, Mexico Roxana Noemi Perez Torres Date of Birth: 11/10/78 Residence: Tijuana, Mexico Octavio Campoy Flores Date of Birth: 7/27/73 Residence: Tijuana, Mexico Ronna Elaine Faris Date of Birth: 10/4/68 Residence: Azle, TX SUMMARY OF CHARGES Number of Defendants: Nine Number of Counts: One Violations: Conspiracy to Traffic in Counterfeit Goods in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 2320(a). Maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine.
An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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