Michigan man charged with selling counterfeit Microsoft software

The Justice Department said he sold counterfeit software bought from China and Singapore

A man from Michigan was arraigned in a U.S. federal court on Thursday on charges of mail fraud and selling counterfeit software worth over US$1.2 million that he purchased from China and Singapore, the U.S Department of Justice said Thursday.

Bruce Alan Edward, 48, of Atlanta, Michigan, was charged in an indictment returned on Oct. 24 and unsealed on Nov. 1 by the federal grand jury in Bay City, Michigan, DOJ said in a statement. He was arraigned on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Edward allegedly distributed counterfeit copies of Office 2003 Professional and Windows XP Professional by selling copyrighted works on eBay and then using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the counterfeit software, according to the indictment which charges Edward with five counts of criminal copyright infringement and one count of mail fraud.

The indictment charges Edward with making more than $140,000 between May 2008 and September 2010 by selling more than 2,500 copies of counterfeit Microsoft software that had a retail value of over $1.2 million.

If convicted of all counts in the indictment, Edward faces a maximum of 45 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines, DOJ said. He could also have to forfeit all criminal proceeds and counterfeit items and any property used to commit the alleged criminal activity, if convicted.

Software piracy has been on the decline in the U.S., but the commercial value of software piracy in the country still adds up to almost $10 billion, with 31 percent of computer users admitting to pirating software, Business Software Alliance, an antipiracy industry group, said in August. Since January, BSA settled a number of cases of unlicensed software including eight cases representing a value of more than $2.5 million, it said. 

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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