WASHINGTON – Three residents of Lakeland, Fla., were indicted today by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., related to their participation in a conspiracy to sell millions of dollars of pirated computer software, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg for the Eastern District of Virginia announced today.
Maurice A. Robberson, 58; Thomas K. Robberson, 54; and Alton Lee Grooms, 56, were charged with one count each of conspiracy to violate copyright and counterfeiting laws for their participation in a conspiracy to sell more than $5 million in counterfeit copyrighted software. Maurice Robberson was also charged with a substantive count of felony copyright infringement and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, while Thomas Robberson was charged with one substantive felony count of copyright infringement and two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
Another member of the conspiracy, Danny Ferrer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and copyright infringement charges on June 15, 2006, and is currently serving 60 months in federal prison.
According to the indictment, the three defendants conspired with Danny Ferrer to sell more than $5 million in counterfeit copyrighted software. The Internet web sites used by the conspiracy included: BuysUSA.com, CDSalesUSA.com, AmericanSoftWareSales.com, TheDealDepot.net, and BestValueShoppe.com.
The indictment alleges that, from late 2002 through October 2005, these individuals ran businesses that sold counterfeit software from companies such as Adobe Systems Inc., Autodesk Inc., and Macromedia Inc. at discount prices. These counterfeit items were manufactured by members of the conspiracy and included labels that featured trademarks and service marks of the legitimate software companies.
The investigation of these individuals was conducted by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Washington Field Office. After receiving complaints from software copyright holders about BuysUSA.com, an undercover FBI agent made a number of purchases of business and utility software. After further investigation, an array of related web sites were discovered.
In October 2005, seven search warrants were executed in Florida by law enforcement on residences and businesses associated with the conspiracy.
The Business Software Alliance, a trade association which represents leading computer software companies, provided significant assistance to the investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Jay V. Prabhu, Senior Counsel for the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and Edmund P. Power, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.