Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JEFFREY LERMAN, also known as “asdgadg,” “kall,” “ht,” and “reg,” age 23, of College Park, Maryland, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to three years of probation, the first six months of which LERMAN must serve confined to his home. Judge Chatigny also ordered LERMAN to pay a fine in the amount of $7500. On March 8, 2005, LERMAN waived indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. This matter stems from a multinational software piracy investigation known as “Operation Higher Education.”
In pleading guilty, LERMAN admitted that, between January 2002 and April 2004, he was a participant in the “warez scene,” an underground online community consisting of individuals and organized groups who engage in the large scale reproduction, modification and distribution of copyrighted software over the internet. Specifically, LERMAN was a prominent member of the warez group known as “Kalisto,” where he served as a “ripper” for pirated copies of computer games so that each game would fit onto a single CD-ROM. LERMAN eliminated or circumvented the games’ copy protection controls in order to facilitate the further unauthorized distribution of the games over the internet. From June 2000 to April 2004, Kalisto was responsible for releasing to the warez scene pirated copies of more than 500 well-known, copyrighted computer games, often before the date of their legitimate commercial release.
“Operation Higher Education” is the largest component of the global law enforcement action known as “Operation Fastlink,” announced by the Department of Justice on April 22, 2004. Twelve nations participated in “Operation Higher Education.” The investigation yielded searches and seizures of more 70 high-level targets that were conducted in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United States, as well as Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“Operation Higher Education” was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Haven office in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut and the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (“CCIPS”). Assistant United States Attorney Edward Chang prosecuted this case.