Illegally Reproduced Microsoft Software
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced that Lawrence Jou, 52, of Fremont, California, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in the United States District court in Oakland to one count of conspiracy to infringe copyrights in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and three substantive counts of copyright infringement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2319. In pleading guilty, the defendant admitted that over an eight month period he agreed with others to infringe the copyrights of Microsoft Corporation by selling illegally reproduced Microsoft software. Mr. Jou admitted that, doing business through Ampower Technology Corporation and Easteam International, two Fremont firms, he provided Microsoft software at prices below retail market prices. He admitted to obtaining illegally copied Microsoft software, as well as labels, certificates of authenticity, manuals and licensing agreements which were counterfeit or stolen. He then packaged or caused to be packaged these materials with the illegally reproduced software for distribution. In this manner, he deliberately made it appear as if the illegally copied software was legitimate Microsoft software when, in fact, it was not. At the plea proceeding, the government has asserted that over the course of the conspiracy, Mr. Jou sold over $9 million worth of counterfeit software. Mr. Jou disputes the amount, and the Court will determine the amount of the fraud at the sentencing hearing. The sentencing of Mr. Jou is scheduled for November 4, 2002 before Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 is a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and a special assessment of $100. The penalty for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2319 is five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain as a result of the violation, and a special assessment of $100. However, any sentence following conviction would be dictated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and would be imposed in the discretion of the Court.
The prosecution is the result of an investigation by agents of the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) Task Force, a multi-agency task force comprised of local, state, and federal agencies which investigates computer related crimes. The prosecution is the result of a three month investigation by REACT Task Force. Mark N. Zanides is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Tom Moulder.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can. Related court documents and information may be found on the District Court website at www.can.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.cand.uscourts/gov. All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Jacobs at (415)436-7181.