U.S. court sentences two in Latvia-based slot machine scheme

The first individual to be extradited to the U.S. from Latvia under a new treaty between the two countries has been sentenced to two years in prison for conspiring to produce and sell counterfeit slot machines, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced.

A federal district court judge in Las Vegas on Aug. 20 sentenced Cuban citizen Rodolfo Rodriguez Cabrera, 43, to two years in prison for his role in the scheme. Also sentenced to two years in prison was his co-conspirator, Henry Mantilla, 35, of Cape Coral, Fla.

The men also were ordered to pay USD 151,800 each in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release after their prison terms, according to the Department of Justice.

A federal grand jury in Las Vegas indicted the men in April 2009, charging each of them with one count of conspiracy, two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, two counts of trafficking in counterfeit labels and two counts of criminal copyright infringement. They were alleged to have produced and sold fake International Game Technology (IGT) slot machines and software. Las Vegas-based IGT is a leading maker of gaming systems. Cabrera, according to the indictment, was responsible for producing the unauthorized copies of IGT software, labels and gaming machine components, while Mantilla’s job was to find customers in the United States.

Cabrera, who ran a company called FE Electronic in Rīga, was arrested in Latvia in June 2009 and extradited to the U.S. in October 2009, according to the Department of Justice. The new extradition treaty between Latvia and the U.S. was ratified in May 2007 and went into effect in April 2009.

The FBI began investigating Cabrera and Mantilla in December 2007. At the time, Cabrera was involved with FE Electronic, while Mantilla was involved with Southeast Gaming Inc. of Cape Coral, Fla. FE Electronic, according to the Latvia’s Register of Enterprises, was established in November 2004.

The FBI arranged for a source to solicit information from Mantilla about slot machines. During a two-year period, according to court documents, the FBI source agreed to several transactions with Mantilla and Cabrera that involved acquiring machines and software that supposedly were genuine IGT products, but instead were fake. Circuit boards were shipped to the FBI source from Cabrera in Rīga, according to court documents.

Under an agreement reached in May, both men pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. The maximum penalty they could have received is five years in jail and a USD 250,000 fine.

Prosecution of Cabrera and Mantilla was part of a larger effort by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat intellectual property crimes.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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