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Intellectual Property Rights

Software counterfeiter gets 4 years in web sales of $1 million

WASHINGTON - An Oregon man was sentenced today for selling counterfeit computer software with a retail value of more than $1 million, and for aggravated identity theft and mail fraud, the Justice department announced. This case of counterfeit sales on the Internet was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Cyber Crimes Unit.

Jeremiah Joseph Mondello, 23, of Eugene, Ore., was sentenced to four years in prison for criminal copyright infringement, aggravated identity theft and mail fraud. For the aggravated identity theft conviction, Mondello was sentenced to a mandatory 24 months in prison, which will be served consecutively with the 24-month prison sentence he received for his criminal copyright infringement and mail fraud convictions. U.S. District Court Judge Ann L. Aiken also ordered Mondello to three years of supervised release and to perform 450 hours of community service following his release from prison. Mondello forfeited more than $225,000 in cash proceeds from the copyright infringement and computer-related equipment used to commit the crime.

According to documents filed in court, between December 2005 and October 2007, Mondello initiated thousands of separate online auctions, using more than 40 fictitious usernames and online payment accounts to sell copies of counterfeit software, and received illicit money from those sales. Mondello generated more than $400,000 in personal profit as a result of these sales.

Mondello admitted to stealing individuals' personal information and using the stolen identities to establish online payment accounts. Mondello acquired victims' names, bank account numbers and passwords by using a computer keystroke logger program. The keystroke logger program installed itself on victims' computers and recorded the victim's name and bank account information as the information was being typed. The program then electronically sent the information back to Mondello and he then used it to establish the online payment accounts.

"Some criminals may view online auctions as an anonymous means to sell stolen intellectual property, but this case proves that law enforcement can identify and prosecute offenders who attempt such schemes," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich.

"The severity of the sentence sends a clear message that persons who illegally deal in intellectual property will be held accountable. This was a very sophisticated copyright infringement case and we appreciate the investigative assistance of the Software and Information Industry Association and Immigration and Customs Enforcement," said U.S. Attorney Karin J. Immergut.

Mondello's case was investigated by the ICE Cyber Crimes Center and offices in Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Medford, Ore. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Marc Miller of the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Sean B. Hoar, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. The Software and Information Industry Association, a trade association that represents leading computer software companies, provided assistance to the investigation.

ICE directs the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), which has been the federal government's central point of contact in the fight against IPR violators. The IPR Center, which has opened a new state-of-the-art facility in Northern Virginia, hosts the restructured partnership of Department of Homeland Security components, ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of Commerce, Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in their fight against counterfeiting and trademark piracy.

The agencies jointly manage investigative leads, investigations and operations and strategically reach out nationally and internationally to train other law enforcement at every level about investigative best practices to broaden intellectual property protection and expand transnational enforcement capabilities. For international law enforcement agencies, the IPR Center serves as a one-stop shop for partnering with the U.S. government to dismantle the criminal enterprises behind the flow of counterfeit items.