Oregon man sentenced to four years for piracy, ID theft

An Oregon man has been sentenced to four years in prison for selling counterfeit software on eBay, aggravated identity theft and mail fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Jeremiah Joseph Mondello, age 23, of Eugene, Oregon, was sentenced late Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Mondello to two years in prison on the ID theft charge, plus another two years for criminal copyright infringement and mail fraud. She also ordered him to give up more than US$225,000 from the profits of his eBay operation and serve 450 hours of community service following his release from prison.

Mondello pleaded guilty to the charges in May.

Between December 2005 and October 2007, Mondello listed counterfeit software in thousands of online auctions, the DOJ said in a press release. He used more than 40 eBay and PayPal accounts to sell the products, and he used stolen identities to set up those accounts, according to information from the DOJ and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), a trade group that initiated the complaint against Mondello.

Mondello acquired victims’ names, bank account numbers and passwords by using a computer keystroke logger program, the DOJ said. He gained more than $400,000 in profits from sales of counterfeit software and sold software with a street value of more than $1 million, the DOJ said.

"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," Matthew Friedrich, acting assistant attorney general at the DOJ, said in a statement.

Mondello sold copies of software from several vendors, including Symantec, Adobe and Intuit, said Keith Kupferschmid, senior vice president of the SIIA's antipiracy division. SIIA was pleased that the DOJ "jumped on the case so fast," he said.

He called Mondello a "whiz-kid who used his smarts and savvy to rip off" software vendors and consumers. The SIIA is pleased to see Mondello sentenced, but there are hundreds of other sellers of pirated software on online auction sites, Kupferschmid said.

SIIA first identified Mondello as an eBay seller using multiple accounts to sell pirated software in early 2007, Kupferschmid said. SIIA uses software it calls the Auction Enforcement Tool to track pirated software being auctioned online and to identify sellers with multiple accounts by comparing the formats of individual auctions, he said.

In addition to the sentencing, SIIA also announced six new civil lawsuits against eBay sellers it has accused of selling counterfeit software. SIIA has filed 32 civil lawsuits against eBay sellers this year. The six newest lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of Adobe.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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