Fugitive Arrested - Previously Indicted for Copyright Infringement of Commercial Software Programs
Baltimore, Maryland - Naveed Sheikh, age 31, formerly of Baltimore, was arrested late yesterday on charges of illegally reproducing and distributing over 100 copyrighted commercial software programs. Sheik had been aware that he was under investigation and fled to Pakistan shortly before being indicted on January 13, 2011. Sheik was arrested at Dulles Airport yesterday as he was attempting to enter the U.S. Sheik had his initial appearance in the Eastern District of Virginia this afternoon, where he was detained pending a detention hearing on February 3, 2012.
The arrest was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division.
According to the one count indictment, from February 2004 to April 2008, Sheikh infringed copyrights by reproducing and distributing over 100 copyrighted commercial software programs for which he allegedly received over $265,000. The copyrighted works are estimated to be worth millions of dollars. Sheikh allegedly advertised through his internet website and sold infringing copyrighted commercial software at prices well below the suggested retail prices of legitimate, authorized copies of the software. Some of the copyrighted works included Microsoft Money 2006 Small Business, Adobe After Effects Pro 7.0, Veritas NetBackUp Pro 5.1, Solid Works Office 2000 Premium, Quicken Premier Home and Business 2006 and Apple iLife 2006.
The indictment alleges that Sheikh advised purchasers that software programs could be mailed to purchasers on compact discs and downloaded from the internet. Sheikh caused the creation of DVD-Rs and CD-Rs with copyright infringing software programs and crack codes. Crack codes allow an individual to modify software to remove or disable security protections. Sheikh allegedly requested that purchasers send money orders for infringing software to a P.O. box he maintained in Towson, Maryland. Sheikh also permitted customers to pay for infringing software through credit card charges and electronic fund transfers. Sheikh paid a company that hosted internet domains to register multiple internet domains, including ezencode.com, lazer-toners.com, and coark.net. Sheikh’s computer server, which was physically located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, hosted his website. Sheikh used computers in Bel Air, Maryland, and other computers to contact and control his computer server.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $265,000 and any property derived from or traceable to the proceeds of the scheme.
Sheikh faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. No date has been set for his appearance in Maryland.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
Today’s charges are an example of the type of 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 http://www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce/.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Harry Gruber, who is prosecuting the case.