16 April – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A former Hollywood resident was indicted today on federal escape charges that accuse him of fleeing Southern California the week before he was scheduled to go on trial for allegedly using a camcorder to covertly film theatrical movies that were being shown at preview screenings.
Johnny Ray Gasca, 35, was named in a one-count indictment that was returned this afternoon by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.
Gasca, who was freed from jail to help his attorney prepare for trial, allegedly fled the custody of his lawyer on January 7, 2004. He was arrested in Florida by the United States Marshals Service on April 5, 2005. He is currently being transferred by the Marshals Service to Southern California.
When he escaped last year, Gasca was facing a trial on four felony charges: criminal infringement of a copyright, interstate communication of a threat, possession of a false identification document of the United States and witness retaliation. Court documents in the copyright infringement case accuse Gasca of making as much as $4,500 per week selling pirated, pre-release copies of movies. Gasca was also charged with witness retaliation for allegedly telling a witness in the case that she could be shot because she provided information to the FBI that was included in an affidavit in support of the search warrant.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Gasca faces a maximum possible penalty of 28 years in federal prison if convicted of the charges in the copyright infringement case. The escape charge carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in federal prison.
Gasca is expected to arrive in Los Angeles later this month.
The case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cyber Crimes Division in Los Angeles. Following his escape, Gasca was taken into custody by the United States Marshals Service.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Elena Duarte