A British national who was arrested in Cyprus in 2020 in connection with a global piracy ring may start to take the FBI warning on DVD’s a bit more seriously, after a US judge this week sentenced the “deeply remorseful” offender to 22 months.
George Bridi, a 52-year-old British national originally from Ghana, was arrested in Cyprus in August 2020 on an international warrant with multiple charges including copyright infringement and wire fraud.
Federal prosecutors said the group concocted bogus reasons to obtain early copies of copyrighted DVDs and Blu-Ray discs from wholesale distributors
The Ghana-born former disk jockey was detained at Paphos International Airport upon arriving from Gatwick and a year later he was extradited to the United States, where he pleaded guilty in November to taking part in an alleged global piracy ring that distributed unreleased movies and television shows online, including big productions from major US studios sold on cracked and ripped DVD and Blu-Ray discs just prior to film release dates.
Prosecutors said the elite piracy network known as the Sparks Group concocted bogus reasons to obtain early copies of copyrighted DVDs and Blu-Ray discs from wholesale distributors.
Reports said Bridi told a New York judge during his arraignment that he was “a bit nervous” but on Monday he said owned up to his offenses saying he had gone down the “wrong path.”
“I am deeply remorseful, I’m really sorry for what I’ve done,” Bridi said.
Federal prosecutors had sought a lengthier prison term in accordance with regulations and guidelines but the judge gave Bridi 22 months after his lawyer sought his client’s release, saying he had spent enough time behind bars and wanted to reunite with his wife and twin teenage sons.
Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss thanked Europol and Eurojust as well as law enforcement authorities in several countries including Cyprus.
British national ‘deeply remorseful’ as he sets out to serve sentence in US away from wife and twin sons for pirating movie DVDs