Operator of Delaware-Based Software Piracy Websites Sentencted to 58 Months for Copyright Infringement and Identity Theft
WILMINGTON, Del. - Jamie Lynn Snyder, age 35, of Newark, Delaware, was sentenced to 58 months in prison today for criminal copyright infringement and identity theft in which she obtained over $1 million in illicit proceeds. Snyder also was sentenced to 3 years of supervised release, which will commence following her prison term, and was ordered to pay a total of $1,013,407.69 in restitution to her victims.
According to statements made at today’s hearing and documents filed in court, between January 1, 2008 and April 27, 2010, Snyder operated websites through which she sold, without authorization, at least 24,044 individual copies of pirated software products copyrighted by at least 81 different software manufacturers to thousands of customers. The total estimated retail value of the pirated software sold by Snyder surpassed $5.9 million.
The FBI made undercover purchases of over 20 software titles from the websites, which were located online at www.cheapestsoftwareanywhere.com and www.cheapestlegalsoftware.com. Included among the purchased software were some of the most popular titles manufactured by Adobe, Apple, Autodesk and Microsoft. The FBI also received numerous complaints from consumers across the country who believed they were lawfully purchasing software from Snyder’s websites, only to learn that Snyder was not authorized to sell the software, which could not be updated properly or registered with the manufacturers. In fact, the professional-looking websites also contained various statements attesting to their legitimacy and lawful sale of the software to consumers.
The FBI’s investigation further revealed that Snyder personally profited in the amount of $971,935.10 from the unlawful software transactions between February 26, 2008 and March 3, 2010.
In April 2010, the FBI executed a search warrant at Snyder’s Newark residence and interviewed Snyder. During that interview, Snyder confessed to operating the websites while knowing that it was unlawful for her to sell the software titles without authorization. She estimated that she was advertising approximately 400 software titles on the website, and had been earning approximately $25,000 to $35,000 per month from sales over past two years.
On November 16, 2011, Snyder pled guilty to criminal copyright infringement and was released on her own recognizance pending sentencing. Upon learning of Snyder’s guilty plea from news reports, the owners of TriMark Enterprises LLC, which employed Snyder as a bookkeeper, reported to the Delaware State Police and the FBI that Snyder had embezzled approximately $40,000 from the Wilmington-based company between February 2011 and January 2012. According to the business owners, Snyder forged numerous checks payable to herself and her creditors and also made unauthorized purchases of personal items on a company credit card. When confronted by a Delaware State Police detective about the allegations, Snyder admitted to the fraud.
Following the sentencing hearing, United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III, stated, “Fueled by the Internet, American companies lose billions of dollars each year to the unlawful distribution of products that they invent and manufacture. What Snyder did from computers in her living room was digital theft of over $5.9 million in merchandise. While in the process of pleading guilty to that offense, she went on to steal $40,000 from her local employer. Today’s sentence demonstrates that serial fraudsters should expect to receive stiff sentences.”
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Delaware State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edward J. McAndrew.