WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three defendants were sentenced to prison today for their roles in an online copyright infringement scheme involving the sale of counterfeit software worth $2.5 million. The cases were investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Cyber Crimes Center, the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Coordination Center and ICE field offices in Austin and San Antonio, Texas.
Thomas C. Rushing III, 24, of Wichita Falls, Texas; Brian C. Rue, 29, of Denton, Texas; and William Lance Partridge, 24, of Royse City, Texas, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin, Texas, for selling counterfeit computer software over the Internet in violation of criminal copyright laws.
Rushing was sentenced to three years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine. In addition to the prison term, Rushing also was ordered by Judge Sparks to forfeit his 2006 Porsche Cayenn purchased with illegal proceeds and approximately $40,000 seized from bank accounts controlled by Rushing. Rue and Partridge were each sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $3,600. In addition to the prison terms, Rue was ordered by the court to forfeit approximately $17,000 seized from a bank account he controlled and Partridge was ordered to forfeit a 46" HDTV purchased with illicit funds.
The court also ordered the forfeiture of the Web site domain names – "valuesoftwaresales.com," "allsoftwaredownload.com," "esoftwarevalue.com" and "priceslashsoftware.com" – used in the sale of pirated software.
Documents filed with the court indicate that from early 2006 through September 2007, Rushing, Rue and Partridge operated Websites that sold a large volume of downloadable counterfeit software without authorization from the copyright owners. The defendants also promoted their illicit scheme by purchasing advertising for their Web sites from major Internet search engines. During the course of the scheme, the defendants processed more than $1.2 million in orders through credit card merchant accounts under their control. Rushing, Rue and Partridge each pleaded guilty in Austin on Aug. 22, 2008, to criminal copyright infringement for selling pirated software through the Internet.
The cases were prosecuted by Trial Attorney Marc Miller of the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew B. Devlin of the Western District of Texas.
The recently restructured ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) acts as the consolidated U.S. government response to the global economic and health and safety issues posed by the illegal importation of counterfeit, sub-standard and unregulated commodities. The expanded IPR Center consists of representatives from ICE, Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Commerce, Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Rights Section, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The IPR Center conducts seamless coordination of multi-jurisdictional/multi-national IPR investigations to maximize the effectiveness of the
U.S. government response to this global threat.
For more information on the IPR Center, contact: