Sept. 22, 2015 By Michael Florio
The owner of a Corona music store has been charged for selling pirated music, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Evaristo Cruz, owner of Poblanos Record Corp., located at 95-10 Roosevelt Ave, allegedly sold illegally-downloaded music to an undercover investigator—via a SD media card.
“While some may ask what’s the harm? The fact of the matter is, downloading music without paying for it is a crime,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown in a statement.
An undercover investigator for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) entered the Roosevelt Avenue store on July 15th and asked Cruz about purchasing music. Cruz, allegedly, sold the investigator a SD media card for $30 that possessed 609 songs, including the music of Cuban salsa singer Rey Ruiz and the Colombian salsa band Grupo Niche.
“In the past, illegally downloaded music was sold on compact discs or CDs. Now songs are being distributed on even smaller devices – flash drives and memory cards,” Brown said.
The investigator returned to the store on September 2nd and once again inquired about purchasing music. This inquiry led to the arrest of Cruz’ employee Guevara Rubi who allegedly told the undercover investigator that he could purchase a USB drive with music on it for $40.
Later that day the investigator paid $40 and picked up the flash drive, which contained 512 songs, including a new song by Romeo Santos featuring rapper Nicki Minaj.
During a search of the store on September 16th, a desktop computer was recovered along with 12 different memory devices ranging from 4 GB to 16 GB. The computer contained more than 1,000 music recordings that were counterfeited and/or pirated music, Brown said.
Cruz, a Sunnyside resident, was arraigned last week on charges of criminal possession of forgery devices and first-degree failure to disclose the origin of a recording. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted and was ordered to return to court on October 20, 2015.
Rubi, a Corona resident, was also arraigned last week, on charges of first-degree failure to disclose the origin of a recording. She faces up to four year in prison if convicted and also has to return to court on October 20th.
Both were released on their own recognizance.