Feds seize nearly $15 million from investment account of fugitive in ICE counterfeit software case
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Federal authorities have seized nearly $15 million from a Swiss bank account belonging to a former Bay Area man who fled the country following his indictment three years ago on federal charges for selling millions of dollars worth of counterfeit antivirus software over the Internet.
The seizure last week of $14.8 million from an investment account in Switzerland is the latest federal enforcement action involving Shaileshkumar "Sam" Jain, 41. Jain was initially indicted in March 2008 by a grand jury in San Jose, Calif., for trafficking in counterfeit goods, wire fraud and mail fraud following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). That case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California.
In March 2010, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York filed a civil complaint alleging that Jain and others had transferred millions of dollars from their scheme into a Swiss bank account. Those funds were forfeited to the United States and the forfeiture was completed on May 31, after the Swiss government wire transferred the funds to the U.S. Treasury in compliance with a federal seizure warrant issued in the Southern District of New York. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York also indicted Jain on domestic and international money laundering charges in May 2010.
ICE HSI's criminal investigation into Jain began in 2007 after the agency received information he was selling counterfeit Symantec antivirus software on various Internet websites. According to the seizure warrant, Jain lured potential customers to his websites by "spamming," sending unsolicited emails to prospective Symantec customers, and by automatically "redirecting" potential Symantec customers to fraudulent websites. After customers provided their credit card information to purchase what they believed were authentic Symantec products, Jain fulfilled the orders by shipping counterfeit software from a facility in Ohio. To hide the proceeds from his criminal activities, Jain established shell corporations here and overseas and opened bank and investment accounts in the United States, Uruguay and Switzerland.
"As this seizure makes clear, intellectual property thieves should be aware that law enforcement will use every available tool to keep them from profiting from the theft of others' products, creativity, and ideas," said ICE Director John Morton. "HSI's investigative work in this case is very much ongoing and we're continuing our efforts to locate this fugitive so he can be brought to justice for his crimes. We're also hopeful some of his ill-gotten gains will soon go to compensate the legitimate software maker that lost millions as a result of this scheme."
Last month's action marks the second significant monetary forfeiture in this case. In April 2008, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California obtained a warrant for the seizure of more than $650,000 in funds from two East Coast investment accounts that held proceeds from Jain's illegal Internet sales.
Jain, who surrendered to ICE HSI agents here in May 2008, has been a fugitive since January 2009 when he failed to appear for two scheduled hearings related to his case in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. HSI agents are continuing efforts to locate him so he can be extradited to the United States to face the current charges. Anyone with information about Jain's possible whereabouts is urged to contact ICE's 24-hour tip line - 1-866-DHS-2ICE.
ICE HSI in San Jose received substantial assistance with the case from HSI agents in New York City and the agency's overseas attaché offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Brasilia, Brazil, and Bern, Switzerland, as well as from the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations in San Francisco.