If you purchased an inexplicably cheap copy of Microsoft Office or Photoshop within the past few years, even from a website as trustworthy as Amazon or Overstock.com, you might be an unaware consumer out of the $100 million world piracy ring – one that has finally ended with guilty petitions from 6 men across belonging to different states.
American attorney, Tammy Dickinson from Missouri district said, the case involved $100 million worth of counterfeit or stolen applications, including access codes for Microsoft products and Adobe systems, including Windows XP and Windows 7. The access codes are utilized to get access to many copyrighted software products.
U.S. attorney told,
“It appears to be one the biggest software piracy cases, if not the biggest, the department has ever handled. a significant deterrent, in that it shows the Department of Justice and our partner agencies like Homeland Security have the technology and the ability to uncover these illegal schemes.”
Ultimately, investigators say they have chased $100 million in sales through the 6 suspects, including an expected $30 million in revenues. In their scam ring, detectives found 13 houses in 5 states and detained $20 million in properties, including 27 pieces of real estate and 10 automobiles.
Tammy Dickison said, “Software piracy is a significant economic crime that victimizes not only software developers and manufacturers but unwitting customers.”
The attorney’s office also stated Adobe, Microsoft, and other software makers have filed a petition against many of these culprits. The research, which is continuing, started in 2013 when officers’ know Case Less Ross was purchasing and reselling about thirty thousand access codes and other products that enabled to copyrighted products.
The attorney’s office stated Ross purchased the illegal codes well below their original value from sources in Europe, Singapore, and China and then resold them to 4 of the other offenders, who then resold the illicit codes again on the internet.
Ross was blamed of gaining stolen, copied, illicit, and unauthorized codes using a variety of ways. Attorneys said in the accusing document that some of the product was simply marked as being persuasive, not for academic or resale licensed.
Matthew Lockwood, Rex Yang, Arunachalam Annamalai, and Reza Davachi are the other four culprits who pleaded guilty to their acts in the scheme. The 6th individual is, Jake Schwart, who helped in the scheme.
The vice president of Microsoft, Tom Burt said, users are the “actual targets” of these schemes.
In an email, he said,
“The real victims in these types of cases are consumers who may unknowingly purchase software online they think is legitimate, but instead end up being scammed by fraudsters into purchasing the unlicensed software.”
Tom Burt said in few cases users are exposing themselves to malware, viruses, and spyware that allow cyber criminals to steal their private information, render their PC and their identity.
Top/Featured Image: By Keith Allison / Flickr