Sentence wraps ‘Fantasia’ case

The last of the defendants in the “Fantasia” heist case has been sentenced, bringing to a close one of the more colorful episodes in video industry history.

Martin Kelly, 65, of Pleasant Ridge, Mich., was sentenced to 10 months, for arranging to stash the 48,610 stolen Disney cassettes in a Detroit warehouse.

The tapes were stolen Oct. 23, 1991, from Vidco Intl., a Wayne, Mich., transporter of video products. A few days later, the tapes, valued at $ 1.2 million, were recovered at the Memphis branch of Wax Works/Video Works, a major distributor of records and videos.

Following an investigation by the FBI, seven men were charged under federal law for conspiracy to transport stolen property interstate.

Yesterday, the U.S. District Attorney’s office for the eastern district of Michigan, announced Kelly’s sentence, and the role each of the defendants played in the inside job.

James Walton, 34, of Cleveland was the security director at Vidco’s Wayne warehouse, and he was sentenced to 24 months and ordered to pay $ 45,000 restitution.

Sentenced to 10 months

Richard Lobdell, 34, of Taylor, Mich., was the driver who picked up the cassettes at Vidco, and he was sentenced to 10 months and ordered to pay $ 1,000 in restitution.

Robert Rau, 34, of Redford, Mich., was the dispatcher of Lobdell’s truck, and he was sentenced to 10 months and ordered to pay $ 2,000 restitution.

Joseph Maida, 53, of New Jersey purchased the stolen goods, and resold them to Richard Daitch, 60, of Canton, Mass. Maida was sentenced to 15 months and ordered to pay $ 160,000 in restitution; Daitch was sentenced to 12 months and ordered to pay $ 144,760 in restitution.

According to the District Attorney, William Osborne, 49, of Waterford, Mich., arranged the logistics of the heist. He was sentenced to 12 months and ordered to pay $ 31,000 restitution.

The amounts of restitution were based on the extent to which each conspirator profited from the theft.

Not charged in the case were any employees of Wax Works/Video Works, as there was no evidence they knew they were purchasing stolen goods. Wax Works/Video Works bought the tapes for $ 563,199.50 from David McNutt, who is a secondary distributor of video products. McNutt, who purchased the tapes from Daitch, was not charged either.

“Fantasia,” released Nov. 1, 1991, was the biggest-selling video of all time, at more than 14 million units–and early in its release, demand exceeded supply. Its record has since been broken by Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” which shipped around 17 million units.

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