WASHINGTON – A Michigan man was arraigned today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on charges of mail fraud and selling counterfeit Microsoft software with a retail value of more than $1.2 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara L. McQuade and Lev J. Kubiak, Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center).
Bruce Alan Edward, 48, of Atlanta, Mich., was charged in an indictment returned on Oct. 24, 2012, and unsealed on Nov. 1, 2012, by the federal grand jury in Bay City, Mich. The indictment charges Edward with five counts of criminal copyright infringement and one count of mail fraud.
According to the indictment, Edward unlawfully distributed counterfeit copies of Microsoft Office 2003 Professional and Microsoft Windows XP Professional software by purchasing counterfeit copies of the copyrighted works from China and Singapore, selling the copyrighted works on eBay and then using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the counterfeit software. The indictment further alleges that Edward obtained more than $140,000 between May 2008 and September 2010 by selling more than 2,500 copies of counterfeit Microsoft software that had a retail value of over $1.2 million.
If convicted of all counts in the indictment, Edward faces a maximum of 45 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation that requires the defendant, if convicted, to forfeit all criminal proceeds and counterfeit items and any property used to commit the alleged criminal activity.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Thomas Dougherty of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Janet Parker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The investigation was conducted by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Crystal City, Va., and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. As a task force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and our war fighters.
The enforcement action announced today is one of many efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force). Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation, and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders. To learn more about the IP Task Force, go to www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce/.