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6/27/2007
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Two Plead Guilty To Selling $6 Million Of Counterfeit Software On eBay

Each defendant faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. They're slated to be sentenced in November.

Two men have pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to selling nearly $6 million worth of counterfeit software on eBay.

Robert Koster of Jonesboro, Ark., and Yutaka Yamamoto of Pico Rivera, Calif., both pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit Rockwell Automation computer software over the Internet. Each defendant faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. They're slated to be sentenced in November.

Federal authorities have been cracking down on counterfeiters stealing and selling copies of Rockwell software. These pleas, which came down on Monday, make a total of nine felony convictions involving eBay auctions of counterfeit Rockwell Automation software. The combined retail value of the counterfeit software in all nine prosecutions is about $30 million, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

In May, James Thomas, 38, of Belleville, Mich., was sentenced to five months in prison and five months home confinement for selling more than $1 million worth of counterfeit computer software on eBay. He admitted in court that he bought counterfeit Rockwell Automation software through eBay and then duplicated and resold the copyrighted material to other eBay users, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release.

And in March, Courtney Smith, 36, of Anderson, Ind., was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for selling more than $700,000 worth of counterfeit Rockwell software.

Rockwell Automation is a global provider of automation, power, control, and information products, including specialized factory management software. The government reported in a release that the majority of the software applications sold by Koster and Yamamoto on eBay had retail prices ranging from about $900 to $11,300.

Koster admitted that from Sept. 4, 2003 through Sept. 14, 2004, he initiated 105 or more online auctions in which he sold copies of Rockwell software on eBay for a personal profit of more than $23,000. The actual retail value of this software was more than $5 million, according to the DoJ release. Yamamoto admitted that from Dec. 7, 2003 through Aug. 12, 2004, he initiated 92 or more separate online auctions in which he sold Rockwell software on eBay for more than $6,000 in profit. The actual retail value of this software was about $543,000.

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