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Chicago Cop Charged With Making, Distributing Pirated CDs

Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO - (KRT) - A four-year Chicago Police Department veteran was ordered held on $50,000 bail on Monday, charged with pirating a half-million dollars' worth of music CDs after police internal affairs and industry investigators conducted a four-month investigation.

Neftalie Gonzalez, 40, appeared before Cook (Ill.) County Criminal Court Judge Neil Linehan, charged with official misconduct and two counts of unlawful use of a recorded sound. He appeared via a closed-circuit television monitor in civilian clothing.

Gonzalez was arrested about 9 a.m. Sunday at a Chicago flea market by investigators from the department's internal affairs division, said David Bayless, a Chicago police spokesman.

David Navarro, assistant state's attorney of Illinois, said Gonzalez was videotaped selling pirated CDs to an undercover police officer. He was in uniform during at least one illegal transaction, Navarro said.

"This shows a clear and arrogant disregard for the Police Department and the law in the state of Illinois," Navarro said.

The investigation began with the Recording Industry Association of America, which notified the internal affairs division, said Bayless. Police kept watch of Gonzalez, who also owns a Chicago music store, Bayless said. Gonzalez was stripped of his police powers, and the judge ordered him to turn in any weapons.

Police purchased seven allegedly counterfeit CDs on Sunday before placing Gonzalez under arrest.

Authorities allegedly seized 500 CDs from his booth at the market and 400 at another flea market in the area, Navarro said.

Police also conducted a search of his store on Sunday and allegedly found nearly 5,000 pirated CDs, a color printer, a shrink-wrapping machine and 45,000 label inserts.

Gonzalez is to return to court Dec. 16.

The Cook County sheriff's police have also joined in the investigation.

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