Seven people have been arrested in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and Santa Clara, Calif., in a U.S. Customs investigation into counterfeiting and trademark infringement of video games, officials said. "We have been investigating this case of intellectual thievery for more than two years," said Commissioner of Customs Carol Hallett.
Search warrants were issued in Tucson for eight locations and executed in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and Santa Clara.
While the warrants were being served, 31,000 integrated circuit chips used in the assembly of counterfeit games, one integrated circuit chip copy machine used in the manufacturing process, two computers and business records were seized, officials said.
Hallett said agents had put much hard work into protecting the rights of the owner of the Nintendo of America copyright. The company assisted customs agents in the investigation, she said.
Those arrested included: Uen Fu Wang and Jimmy Yao of Nintendo Electronic Co. Ltd. located in Taipei, Taiwan; King Huang and Alice Chong of King Hwa Industrial Co. in Los Angeles; Patrick Yu and George Yeh of Unicorn Microelectronics Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif.; and Joseph Benmeleh of Galaxia Overseas in Miami.
All have been charged with violations of the United States Code pertaining to customs fraud, including trafficking in counterfeit goods and conspiracy, officials said.