Oregon man admits selling pirated software on eBay

Used keylogging software to steal ID data from victims, set up fake user accounts

A 23-year-old Oregon man who used keylogging software to steal names, bank account numbers and other information from online victims so he could sell pirated software in online auctions faces 27 years in prison and fines up to $500,000 after pleading guilty to several federal charges today.

Jeremiah Joseph Mondello, of Eugene, Ore. pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal copyright infringement, aggravated identity theft and mail fraud before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Mondello, who also faces three years of supervised release, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 23. He is a former student at the University of Oregon.

According to the DOJ, Mondello allegedly sold pirated software worth more than $1 million through online auctions on eBay, using more than 40 fictitious usernames and online payment accounts that he set up with bank account data from people who were victimized by his keylogging software. The DOJ said Mondello illegally obtained more than $400,000 in profits from his piracy operations.

A spokesman for the DOJ in Oregon could not immediately be reached for comment today.

The DOJ was aided in the investigation by the Washington-based IT trade group, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), which discovered Mondello's online pirated sales operations using a proprietary software tool that probes auction sites like eBay.com for illegal software rackets (download PDF).

Keith Kupferschmid, senior vice president of intellectual property policy and enforcement for the SIIA, said today that the group's online software tools saw suspicious patterns in a series of online auctions that featured similar descriptions and similar seller accounts. That discovery, early last year, triggered SIIA investigators to alert the DOJ, Kupferschmid said. "That's when we decided, 'OK, maybe we have some involvement in big-time piracy here.'"

"This case is a huge victory in the fight against software piracy on eBay and other auction sites," Kupferschmid said in a statement. "Mondello stole innocent people's personal information and used it on eBay to attract sales and deliver pirated software to unsuspecting consumers."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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