CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE: United States Attorney Tom Colantuono and Kenneth W. Kaiser, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation today announced that as part of a nationwide operation, five individuals have been charged in New Hampshire with Software Piracy. The nationwide operation, known as Operation Cyber Sweep, was coordinated by 34 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service, the FTC, the United States Secret Service, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The operation targeted a variety of online economic crimes including fraud, software piracy and the fencing of stolen goods. The investigation exposed the ways in which economic crimes are becoming increasingly global and multijurisdictional in nature. More than 125 investigations were opened since Operation Cyber Sweep began on Oct. 1, 2003. Investigators uncovered more than 125,000 victims with estimated losses of more than $100 million. More than 90 search and seizure warrants were executed as part of the operation, and prosecutors have obtained more than 70 indictments to date. The charges have led to more than 125 arrests or convictions.
“Online criminals assume that they can conduct their schemes with impunity,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft. “Operation Cyber Sweep is proving them wrong, by piercing the criminals’ cloak of anonymity and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.” As part of the sweep, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire filed Software Piracy charges against the following individuals:
Jordan Zielin, New York, NY
David Foresman, Lombard, IL
Kenneth Woods, Warrentown, VA
Daniel McVay, North Easton, MA
John Neas, Holbrook, MA
Each of the defendants is charged with conspiracy to violate copyright laws (18 USC 371 & 2319(b)(1)). Each defendant faces a maximum of five years imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines. The New Hampshire cases arise out of an FBI undercover operation known as “Operation Digital Piratez”. The undercover operation was conducted in New Hampshire by the Boston, Massachusetts FBI Computer Squad. During the investigation undercover agents and cooperating witnesses infiltrated: 1) several internet-based computer servers, known as “warez servers” run by groups of software pirates, and 2) various secret Internet Relay Chat channels used by those involved to communicate in real time about their software piracy activities. Warez servers exist exclusively for the illegal purpose of storing, copying, and reproducing copyright protected software. They serve no legitimate purpose. The charges allege that each of the defendants either owned, was a site operator for, or had some other managerial role in one or more of the targeted warez servers. In the course of the investigation, computers were searched in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Virginia. The aggregate value of the software on the warez servers seized in this investigation is in the millions of dollars. The defendants are expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Concord, NH to answer to the charges within a matter of weeks.
The investigation is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold H. Huftalen. United States Attorney Colantuono reminds the public that the charges only allege that a crime has been committed and that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.