Officers in the U.S. Probation Office believed an Orange County arcade owner who may have profited more than $125,000 by violating computer game copyrights should go to prison for 30 months.
Paul Thinh, a Vietnamese immigrant who collected a prior theft record while working as a Fry’s Electronics employee, hoped his punishment would be no tougher than probation because he’s remorseful and has committed no other crimes while awaiting sentencing for more than a year.
Federal prosecutors took a third position, arguing that Thinh’s “serious” crimes conducted at his Gamestar Arcade in Tustin require at least a 15-month prison term as a deterrent to others contemplating similar offenses.
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On several occasions over a period of months, undercover Department of Homeland Security agents bought pirated games at massive discounts from Thinh, who presented the products as genuine to customers.
But U.S. District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt in Los Angeles didn’t agree with any recommendation.
On December 3, Kronstadt decided the appropriate punishment is 60 days of incarceration, supervised probation for two years and 20 hours of monthly community service.
Thinh, who was born in 1978, has until noon on May 3 to self-surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.