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5/15/2008
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eBay Seller Faces 20-Year Sentence For Software Piracy

Investigators believe he created more than 40 fake seller IDs and PayPal accounts after capturing people's bank account information through a keystroke logger.

An eBay seller accused of creating more than 40 fake IDs on the auction Web site could spend 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to the sale of pirated software.

The Software & Information Industry Association announced the guilty plea Thursday, while also filing nine new lawsuits against people accused of illegally selling software on eBay. The SIIA said it has brought 26 cases against people selling counterfeit or pirated software this year.

The group also said Jeremiah Mondello, a former student at the University of Oregon, pleaded guilty to copyright infringement, aggravated identity theft, and mail fraud. He faces fines of up to $500,000 and imprisonment from two to 20 years. He will be sentenced in July.

Last year, the SIIA used a proprietary Auction Enforcement Tool to identify Mondello from an eBay seller ID. The group linked him to several other eBay identities and forwarded its information to the U.S. Department of Justice Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).

Investigators believe he created more than 40 fake seller IDs and PayPal accounts after capturing people's bank account information through a keystroke logger launched via the Internet. He used the fake IDs to increase his seller ratings on eBay, the SIIA said.

The group filed nine new lawsuits Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, on behalf of its member companies.

They charge the following people with knowingly selling software illegally on eBay: Edward Hackim of Raleigh, N.C.; Debra Taveira of Hopatcong, N.J.; Luis Chang of Rowland Heights, Calif.; John Maiella of Henderson, Nev.; Max Acosta of Los Angeles; Joe Bramble of Springport, Mich.; Christopher Cain of Staten Island, N.Y.; Gabrielle Berthelot-Leven of Medley, Fla.; and Guy Vinette and Matthew Sanchez of Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Scott Bain, SIIA lawyer, said sellers will be held accountable "regardless of whether they knew -- or claimed ignorance -- that the products were counterfeit or unauthorized."

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