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COURT GRABS WOMAN'S ASSETS

Pirate who sold illegally copied games ordered to relinquish all remaining assets

Thursday 17th August 2006/ A woman who made over £850,000 from selling illegally copied games and films has had her remaining assets worth an estimated £250,000 confiscated following a conviction for piracy and counterfeiting offences.

Susan Roach, 46, of Netherton, Merseyside, originally caught in possession of pirated PlayStation 2 and Xbox games, was ordered back to Liverpool Crown Court for a hearing on 11th August. She had been previously been jailed for 12 months for piracy and counterfeiting offences. The illegal operation was uncovered by Liverpool Trading Standards, Merseyside Police and an ELSPA investigator in July 2004.

The court assessed that Mrs Roach's financial gain from criminal activity was more than £850,000. Liverpool Trading Standards and the North West Regional Assets Recovery Team successfully used legislation under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) to ask a judge to confiscate her remaining assets worth £242,807. An order as how much she must pay back within a given period or serve a further jail sentence in default was not given at the court hearing.

Michael Rawlinson, Managing Director of ELSPA commented: "The Roach case highlights the severe penalties facing criminals who partake in the selling of pirated computer and video games. Any profit made through illegal activity such as this can- and often is reclaimed under POCA, and just goes to show that piracy and counterfeiting doesn't pay."

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Susan Roach, 46, of Park Lane, Netherton, Merseyside, sold the counterfeit goods on Great Homer Street Market, Liverpool and was caught following an investigation called Operation Zouk headed up by the Department for Work and Pensions. Operation Zouk was the subject of a televised documentary and Susan Roach was highly featured in this. Officers discovered 550 counterfeit discs on the stall, a further 318 in her Land Rover Freelander and 2878 blank discs in her home.

She pleaded guilty last year to five offences of infringing copyright, three trademark offences and two counts of benefit fraud and was jailed for 12 months.

EDITORS NOTES

About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com

ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

ELSPA's activities include: Official Chart and Industry Reports, Anti-Piracy UK and EU, PR and Communication, Events. More information on all these activities can be found at http://www.elspa.com.

About Software Piracy and its negative impact on both consumers and industry.

ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately £540 million. Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences.

The illegal copying of software poses the very real threat of criminal prosecution and a criminal record, as well as the risk of massive personal financial loss under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Consumers have no recourse under law for faulty pirated games, which can damage hardware.

Counterfeited/pirated games are often mixed with obscene or pornographic material.

Local and national jobs are lost as result of pirate operations.

Proven links exist between many organised counterfeiting organisations and dealers in drugs and pornography.

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