NE Tenn. ringleader in DVD pirate case avoids jail time

Matthew Lane • Sep 28, 2012 at 3:17 AM

GREENEVILLE — The ringleader of a group of Northeast Tennessee residents who pirated and sold thousands of DVD movies to friends, family and co-workers over a five-year period will not be serving any jail time, but he will have to pay more than $275,000 for his crimes.

Richard and Melissa Arnold, Kristen Bailey (of Unicoi County and sister to Melissa) and Reginald Garner were indicted in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in May 2011 on a five-count indictment charging them with copyright infringement and dealing in counterfeit labels. Richard Arnold was also charged with defrauding and making false statements to the Social Security Administration.

The charges against the Arnolds stem from the pirating and selling of thousands of DVD movies from 2005 to 2010; Bailey and Garner sold many and gave away some of the movies for the Arnolds, to friends, family members and co-workers.

All four defendants pleaded guilty to copyright infringement in July 2011 and have jointly been ordered to pay $47,755 in restitution to the Motion Picture Association of America.

During a sentencing hearing Wednesday morning, Judge Ronnie Greer sentenced Richard Arnold to five years probation, ordered him to pay $59,088 in restitution to the SSA and, as health permits, perform 150 hours of community service. Greer also imposed a $217,013 money judgment against Richard Arnold during Wednesday’s sentencing.

Since the other defendants have been sentenced, Arnold’s sentencing wraps up the 18-monthold case.

In February, Melissa Arnold and Bailey were sentenced to five years probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. All three faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In December, Garner also received five years of probation and was ordered to perform 250 hours of community service. Originally, Garner faced 33 to 41 months in prison, but because of his “substantial assistance” in helping and cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation of this case, federal prosecutors moved for a lesser sentence for Garner.

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