Jacinda Jones, 31, of Ypsilanti, Mich., pleaded guilty to one count of willful copyright infringement before U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson in Detroit. According to court documents, between July 2008 and January 2010, Jones earned more than $400,000 by selling over 7,000 copies of pirated business software at discounted prices through the website www.cheapdl.com . The software had a retail value of more than $2 million and was owned by several companies, including Microsoft, Adobe, Intuit and Symantec. According to court documents, Jones’ activities came to the attention of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, who made several undercover purchases of the pirated business and utility software.
At sentencing, Jones faces maximum penalties of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. During her guilty plea hearing, Jones also agreed to forfeit any illegal proceeds from her criminal activity and pay restitution to the victims. Sentencing has been scheduled for Aug. 15, 2011, at 9 a.m.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and Trial Attorney Thomas Dougherty of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. The investigation was conducted by the Field Support Unit of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) and by ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Detroit.
The enforcement action announced today is an example of the type of efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force). Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders. To learn more about the IP Task Force, go to www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce/ .