Federal Indictments Returned in Las Vegas
Against Software Pirates Nabbed in Operation Bandwidth
Las Vegas, Nev. -Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, Ellen Knowlton, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Carol Levy, Director, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and Nikki L. Tinsley, Inspector-General, Environmental Protection Agency Office of the Inspector General (EPA-OIG), announced that today indictments were returned against 21 individuals who were allegedly members of a computer software piracy group known as the "Rogue Warriorz" (RWZ), a secretive underground organization which illegally altered and distributed copyrighted software, movies, and games over the Internet. The individuals: JOHN J. AMOROSI, (06/20/1980) aka "Sloanman", Falls Church, VA; WOLF BACHENOR, (07/02/1951) aka Walter Bachenor, aka "Drinfotheif", "DrinfoTHV", and "Doctor", Park Slope, NY; DAVID BRANDT, (05/05/1967) aka "Bocephus", Wake Village, TX; ALEXANDER CASTANEDA, (01/01/1982) aka "Prentice", and "Alex", Federal Way, WA; JACOB PAUL CLAPPTON, (02/04/1973) aka "Axxess", Livermore, CA; LUKASZ DOUPAL, (03/26/1978) aka "Luk@s", Brooklyn, NY; JONATHAN DOW, (11/09/1968) aka "Demon Furby", Ilion, NY; JORGE GARCIA, JR., (01/31/1973) aka "Lh", and "Lordhacker", Reddick, FL; BRYAN RAY HARSHMAN, (01/04/1980) aka "Carrier", St. Joseph, MO; MARK KONARSKE, (07/23/1961) aka "Markus", and "Markruss", Flat Rock, MN; TIMOTHY J. LASTORIA, (09/12/1978) aka "Waldorf", Brecksville, OH; DAVID LOWE, (04/06/1961) aka "Dragon", Akron, OH; CHRISTOPHER MASTRANGELO, (04/13/1971) aka "Floyd", Toms River, NJ; MICHAEL MEACHAM, (08/08/1967) aka "Dvorak", Barberton, OH ; SUZANNE PEACE, (12/19/1965) aka "Peaces", Lombard, IL; LINDLE ROMERO, (08/19/1965) aka "Rahman", Houston, TX; ELISA SARINO, (05/10/1975) aka "Elisa", and "ElisaEGO", San Jose, CA; JEFFREY SASSER, (01/15/1961) aka "Inferno", and Inferno00", Charlotte, NC ; PETER M. SEMADENI, (10/24/1974) aka "Davinci", and "Rev. Wolf", Overland Park, KS; DEAN WUESTENBERG, (09/01/1958) aka "Xochi", Donahue, IA; JOSEPH YANO, (05/21/1968) aka "Jozef", Saskatoon, SA, were charged with Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Copyright Infringement. The Indictments are part of Operation Bandwidth, a two-year undercover law enforcement investigation whose goal was to identify and prosecute entities and individuals involved with illegal access to computer systems and the piracy of proprietary software.
According to the Indictment, certain members of the organization were designated as "Council Members"(individuals who set the terms and conditions under which RWZ was run, and which the other members were required to follow if they wished to continue their membership in RWZ), "Site Operators" (Site Ops) (individuals who maintained File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites on the internet that were used to store and transfer the copyrighted software, movies, and games), "Couriers" (individuals who specialized in transporting the copyrighted software, movies, and games to RWZ's various FTP sites around the internet), or "Members" (individuals who had achieved access into RWZ's FTP sites, but had no specific role within the hierarchy).
All the various Members of RWZ were required to apply for membership to the organization. The new members' applications were screened through "security" and placed on a "trial" (probation) period, with the different roles having different probationary periods and requirements. For example: the probationary period for a Site Ops ensured that his FTP Site was available, was large enough, and was fast enough for the regular Members and Couriers to utilize it to store and transfer the copyrighted-protected programs, games, and movies; the probationary period for the Couriers ensured that they regularly contributed and transferred enough copyright-protected software, games, and movies to RWZ's various FTP sites for storage and usage by other members.
The RWZ leadership and RWZ members communicated with each other on a private Internet Relay Chat ("IRC"). Some of the IRC channels used by the defendants were: #roguewarriorz.EFnet, #rwz.EFnet, and #rwzchat.EFnet. Access to the channels was available only to members with a password. In the IRC channels, members conducted meetings at which they sometimes voted on key topics, included the security of RWZ against law enforcement, the probationary period of a prospective new member, or the performance of a Site Op or Courier.
RWZ also maintained a private, password-protected web page which was accessible only to Members with a password. Members of RWZ utilized the web page to post the statistics of the Site Ops and Couriers, such as which Site Op maintained the most amounts of illegal copyright protected programs, and which Courier had moved the most illegal copyright protected programs for the previous week. The web page was also used to update the current Site Ops and Members list.
RWZ also maintained numerous FTP sites which were accessible through the internet to authorized users only. These FTP sites served as online warehouses for the pirated computer software, movies, and games, and the individuals who maintained these FTP sites were the Site Ops for RWZ.
Undercover agents for the FBI, Defense Criminal Investigative Services (DCIS), and the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General (EPA-OIG) infiltrated RWZ and were made Site Ops for the "Shatnet" FTP site, which was physically located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each defendant had, or had access to, an active account on the Shatnet FTP site. Each member who logged on to Shatnet could view a directory of the all the pirated software, movies, and games available on the site. Thousands of copyrighted computer software programs, movies, and games were uploaded to the Shatnet site by RWZ members, and were therefore made available for downloading to other members, in violation of those copyrights, including, among others: operating systems; utilities; applications such as word processing programs, data analysis programs, spreadsheets, communications programs, graphics, desktop publishing programs; games; and movies. From November 2000 through December 2001, RWZ obtained, made available for distribution over the internet, and stored on the FTP site Shatnet, approximately 8434 application and utility software programs, 356 movies, and 432 computer games worth more than approximately $7,000,000.
If convicted, the defendants are facing up to 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on the Conspiracy charge. In addition to any term of imprisonment or fine which could be ordered following a conviction, the court is required to order restitution to the victims. The actual sentence, however, will be dictated by the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and will be imposed at the discretion of the Court.
The former Vice President of RWZ has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the authorities. Another RWZ member has signed a plea agreement and will enter a guilty plea shortly.
The case is a joint investigation among the Department of Defense Criminal Investigation Service, the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General, the FBI, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and is being coordinated by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Nevada.
Assistant United States Attorney Matt Parrella is in charge of coordinating the investigation and prosecution for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Nevada.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.