4. S. and L. Distributors

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
4
Norman Arno, Thomas Sinopoli, Marty Bernback, Sandy Sarnblad, Timothy "Tim Simpson" Burns, Los Angeles, California. In May 1978, the agents met with Norman Arno, owner of S & L Distributors. Arno said he was willing to meet the agents since they had been dealing with his employee Tim Burns for over eight months and no one had been arrested. Arno said he was dealing with Rubin Gottesman (National Film Company, Los Angeles, California) regarding purchase and sale of video tape cassettes of major motion pictures. After a $3,000 check was given to Arno by Agent Ellavsky, Arno said he would send Ellavsky a "phony" invoice reflecting payment of $3,000 and would label the invoice as being for magazines or periodicals. Arno said he wanted to obtain the remaining $3,200 in.cash so he would not have to report it as income.

In July 1978, Arno told the agents that there were rumors that they were "the heat". Arno alluded to the fact that he was suspicious that the agents were cops. Arno said the pornography industry was a close knit organization and that most individuals have been in the business several years and no one seemed to know where the agents came from.

Arno said he did not want to take any calls concerning legitimate or "straight" video tape cassettes over his telephone at his residence or his office. He stated that arrangements could be worked out whereby he would call from a pay telephone to obtain the orders desired by Golde Coaste Specialties. Arno said he had previously been somewhat reluctant to inform the agents that he was involved in the reproduction of pirated motion pictures as this was a violation of federal copyright statutes. Arno said there were several problems connected with the production of these video tape cassettes. He said there was a lot of activity by the FBI recently and that several producers of pirated films had been "busted" in the recent past and were now working for the FBI.

In January 1978, Arno said he had first heard problems about the agents from Ron Selinger (Bon Jay Sales, Baltimore, Maryland) and that Selinger said he was going to meet with the agents in Miami, Florida, until he received a telephone call from a friend of his advising him not to deal with the agents.

Arno said Chicago was a rough town and that a former employee of Leo Weintraub by the name of Rene had had his operation blown up in Chicago reportedly by Weintraub.

In January 1980, the agents met with Norman Arno at his Video Cassettes X Rated (VCX) display at the Consumer Electronics Show held at the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada. The agents told Arno they brought with them a check to give to him as payment on a debt. The agents and Arno went inside the VCX display. At that time Arno said that Special Agent William Kelly of the Miami, FBI Office was behind them and was about to photograph them. Arno told Ellavsky not to turn around and not to write the check at that time but to come to his hospitality suite at Ceasar's Palace where he would receive payment.