Illegally copied video games net Saskatoon man a discharge, lost job
An information technology professional has pleaded guilty to copyright infringement and possessing proceeds of crime after twice selling “unlocked” video game consoles to undercover RCMP investigators.
Thousands of illegally copied video games were seized from the Boychuk Drive residence of Terry T. Heilman, 36, during a search last Oct. 7.
Heilman came to the attention of the Border Integrity Unit last fall after posting ads on Kijiji, an Internet classified advertising site, in which he offered to sell or modify video game systems so they would play illegally-copied Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Sega games.
Heilman’s admissions were part of a plea bargain that included an eight-month conditional discharge and payment of a $1,500 anonymous donation through his lawyer to the United Way.
The donation stands in lieu of a fine, which cannot be imposed in a conditional discharge, and its anonymity prevents Heilman from receiving a tax credit, said federal Crown prosecutor Crystal Ward.
Defense lawyer Tim Hawryluk said his client lost his job as a result of the criminal charges and has since taken employment earning $30,000 less per year.
“His professional reputation in the I.T. community has been tarnished,” Hawryluk said.
The RCMP began investigating in September after they were tipped off about the illicit trade. On Sept 28, 2010 an investigator bought a Nintendo Wii game system that had been modified to play games reproduced illegally.
The next day, the officer brought a new game system to Heilman, who modified it to allow it to play illegally downloaded games. He also told the officer how to burn other illegally copied games.
When the East College Park home was searched, RCMP seized more than 7,000 items which, if sold authentically, would be valued at more than $203,000, RCMP said at the time.
Heilman, who had no prior criminal convictions, will avoid a criminal record if he complies with conditions, including not using software to repeat the crime. He also may not possess any “unlocked” video game console.