The last of a ring of convicted DVD and CD counterfeiters has been sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay $70,894 in restitution to the MPAA and the Recording Industry Association of America.
Mamadou Aliou Simakha, of Dakar, Senegal, who was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, was convicted of conspiring to reproduce tens of thousands of copyrighted movies and songs, which the U.S. Department of Justice says would have been worth more than $769,000 had they been legitimate.
Simakha was one of 13 individuals charged by a federal grand jury in a 2009 indictment alleging various copyright, trademark and counterfeit label offenses. At a plea hearing, he admitted that two co-conspirators supplied him with blank CDs and DVDs on which he burned counterfeit copies of music and movies along with placing counterfeit artwork. He also admitted he was involved in a conspiracy to then sell copies of the pirated works.
After entering his guilty plea, however, he fled the country, but was arrested a year ago in Morocco and extradited back to the U.S. Seven other defendants were sentenced in 2011 to prison terms ranging from probation to five years.
“Simakha admitted his part as a high-volume seller in a conspiracy to produce and traffic millions of pirated music CDs and DVDs which was a leading supplier for the southeastern U.S.,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “His decision to flee the country garnered him the statutory maximum sentence he deserves for his many years as a disc counterfeiter and international fugitive.”