Music store owners are charged with having bootleg CDs

March 05, 1997|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

The owners of Record & Tape Traders have been charged with possession of bootleg compact discs -- a year after authorities seized thousands of recordings in raids at the music chain's warehouse and four of its suburban Baltimore stores.

Compact discs seized during the raids included unauthorized recordings of concerts by top-selling artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen and the Who, according to charging documents filed against the company and its owners.

Current and former employees told investigators that the owners knew that the illegal recordings were being sold through the stores and through Yodelin' Pig, their mail- and telephone-order business, according to the documents.

The owners, Steven L. Smolen, 41, and Kevin H. Stander, 42, both of Owings Mills, each were charged with one count of possession of bootleg recordings with the intent to sell. The company was charged with eight counts of the offense, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Trial has been set for April 9 in Baltimore County District Court.

Record & Tape Traders opened in 1978 in a house near Towson and grew into a chain of nine stores in metropolitan Baltimore. In 1987, the owners were placed on probation for selling bootleg records.

The company was targeted by recording industry investigators as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal recordings.

The Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group, began investigating the company in 1995.

That led to the Feb. 27, 1996, raids on the company's warehouse on Reisterstown Road and its stores in Reisterstown, Catonsville, Glen Burnie and Severna Park.

After obtaining a search warrant, state police seized about 2,000 recordings and computerized business records.

The charging documents allege that more than 1,100 of the seized recordings did not bear names and addresses of the "transferor of the sounds," as required by law.

Pub Date: 3/05/97

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