A veteran U.S. Labor Department supervisor admitted running a movie bootlegging operation inside the agency’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. He sold more than 1,200 pirated films, worth an estimated $19,000, using the agency’s internal email system, including to his colleagues in the office.
Ricardo Taylor, 57, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating copyright law. A judge sentenced Taylor to serve 24 months of probation for the crime.
In an interview with the News4 I-Team, Taylor said Labor Department colleagues were his customers. The agency and its Inspector General’s Office declined multiple requests for comment.
Court records obtained by the I-Team said Taylor, who earned more than $60,000 per year at the Labor Department, illegally sold bootlegged DVDs between 2008 and 2013, some of them for as little as $4 a copy. Taylor was mailroom supervisor for the Labor Department’s Office of Workers Compensation, inside the agency’s headquarters at 200 Constitution Ave. NW near the U.S. Capitol. Court records said Taylor maintained a log of his sales, including customers’ names.
“Taylor used a five-bay DVD burner to duplicate the illegal copies he purchased,” Court filings said.
During Taylor’s sentencing, a federal prosecutor said Taylor engaged in a “serious crime ... to enrich himself.”
Taylor had worked for the agency since 1974. He retired shortly after his crime was discovered, according to court deliberations observed by the I-Team.
“I want to put this behind me,” Taylor told the I-Team. “That part of my life is over. I made a big mistake. I’m sorry to everybody involved, especially the Department of Labor.”
David Williams, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Taxpayers Protection Alliance, said the Department of Labor should release more details about who was involved in the bootlegging operation. “Fellow employees who bought the DVDs are also complicit in this crime and should have reported the bootlegger immediately,” Williams said. “It is clear that better safeguards must be put in place to ensure federal resources are not used to break the law. We hope this is a wake-up call to all employees and IGs that criminal activity of any kind will not be tolerated.”
Taylor’s crime was “brazen and greedy,” a federal judge said. Taylor’s lack of a criminal history was a factor in her decision to spare him jail time, she said.