Posted: Mar 6, 2013 1:59 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Mar 6, 2013 6:41 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- Last February, our cameras caught several people selling bootleg music and movies, some of those films were still in theaters at the time.
Now, 7 people are charged with counterfeiting and facing 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each charge.
Today, in federal court, a judge officially read them their charges. 6 Investigates was there and some of the people were not happy to see us.
Not long after entering not guilty pleas on two counts of copyright infringement, Daniel Diaz and Vanessa Pecina left the courtroom, angry to see our cameras. Pecina even ordered us to leave.
"Did you do this," we asked Vanessa Pecina outside court. "Did you," she repsonded with a question. "Then get out of my face," she continued, "if I trip and fall, I'm bringing you down with me," Pecina said.
Federal agents worked with local law enforcement for more than a year before charging 7 people in the alleged bootlegging operation.
Daniel Diaz, Vanessa Pecina, Leticia Aguilar and Joe Silvas are all facing two counts of counterfeiting; one count for movies, another for music.
William and Ruth Henneberger each face one charge for allegedly counterfeiting movies only.
Authorities say they seized more than 58,000 CDs and DVDs in their investigation.
All seven people had court appointed attorneys and entered not guilty pleas, except for Joe Silvas, owner of Da Bomb Records.
"The stuff we have in theaters right now, we got contraband," Silvas told us back in February 2012, when we approached his shop.
Silvas announced in court today that he hired his own attorney and the judge reset his hearing, he will enter a plea on Friday.
"I don't have anything to say, thank you though, I appreciate it," he said outside court.
Leticia Aguilar didn't say a word to our cameras.
Ruth and William Henneberger, who we found selling movies at the flea market last year, managed to avoid our cameras outside court. But at the flea market he threw a drink at reporter Mitch Bryan.
Joe Hernandez went to court today, then back to jail.
All seven are facing 5 years in prison for each count, plus 3 years supervised release and a $250,000 fine per count.
The judge explained this to the group in court.
Perhaps that's why Vanessa Pecina left in such a bad mood.
"How much money were you all making off of this," we asked her. "Go fix some potholes, maybe you should give me some money because I have a dollar right now, get out of my face," she said.
The group is scheduled for a pre trial hearing April 4th.
The case against all 7 is set for jury trial April 8th.
Each of them have their own court appointed attorney, except for Silvas, who hired his own attorney.
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
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