LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher was sentenced today to six months behind bars and ordered to pay more than $106,000 for operating a counterfeit karaoke business without paying federal taxes on the sales.
Bill Bene, 44, of Pasadena was also ordered to serve three years under supervised release after his release from prison and pay an amount to be determined later to various copyright holders, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu said.
He pleaded guilty last March in Los Angeles federal court to two counts – - criminal copyright infringement and filing a false tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In his plea agreement, Bene acknowledged selling illegal karaoke jukeboxes between 2006 and 2010 and not reporting more than $600,000 in sales to the Internal Revenue Service.
Bene further acknowledged that during those years, he illegally copied and sold karaoke songs on hard drives containing about 122,000 titles each, and admitted that he did not tell the IRS about the business, even going so far as to ask the IRS in 2008 for relief from back taxes because he claimed that he could not afford to pay.
“Intellectual property crimes are not victimless,’ U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said previously. “As this federal case shows, these crimes of stealth hurt the small businesses that do play by the rules, and they also deprive the federal government of tax revenue that could be put to beneficial use.”
Bene, of Cal State Los Angeles, was a Dodgers amateur draft pick in 1988, but never made the majors.