Cal State Student Arrested for Playing with Video Games

College student is accused of modifying consoles for personal financial gain

Playing with video games can lead to hard time, just ask Matthew Lloyd Crippen.

The Cal State Fullerton student was arrested Monday on federal charges that he illegally modified Xbox, Playstation, Wii and other video game consoles to enable the machines to play pirated video games.

Crippen, 27, of Anaheim, was taken into custody Monday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The arrest follows his indictment by a federal grand jury on two counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Specifically, the college student is accused of modifying for personal financial gain technology affecting control or access to a copyrighted work, according to an ICE statement.

Each criminal count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The charges against Crippen stem from an ICE investigation initiated late last year after the agency received a tip from the Entertainment Software Association.

Last May, ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at Crippen's home, where they seized more than a dozen Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony video game consoles.


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“Playing with games in this way is not a game -- it is criminal,” said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of the ICE investigations office in Los Angeles.

“Piracy, counterfeiting and other intellectual property rights violations not only cost U.S. businesses jobs and billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, they can also pose significant health and safety risks to consumers,” he said.

Counterfeiting and piracy have grown in recent years in both magnitude and complexity, according to ICE. Industry and trade associations estimate that counterfeiting and piracy now cost the U.S. economy as much as $250 billion a year and a total of 750,000 American jobs.

Some estimates indicate that 5 percent to 8 percent of all the goods and merchandise sold worldwide are counterfeit.

Crippen was expected to make his initial federal court appearance late Monday in Los Angeles.

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