News and Press Releases

Houston Man Pleads Guilty to Criminal Copyright Infringement in Connection with Selling Pirated Software

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Charles Daniel Stephens, 40, of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty today to criminal copyright infringement.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Lev Kubiak, Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge James C. Cacheris.

Stephens pleaded guilty to a criminal information filed on October 8, 2013 charging one count of criminal copyright infringement.  Stephens faces a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and forfeiture of over $28,000 when he is sentenced on January 17, 2013.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Stephens admitted to selling pirated computer software online, including products from Rosetta Stone Inc., headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and products from Microsoft, Adobe Systems, Intuit, and Symantec, from September 2008 through November 2012.  Stephens received at least $154,000 in proceeds from these sales.

This case was investigated by the HSI–led IPR Center.  Assistant United States Attorney Alexander T.H. Nguyen and Special Assistant United States Attorney Peter V. Roman of the Department of Justice’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

The IPR Center in Washington is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy.  Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft.  Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety and the U.S. economy.  To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.

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 and innovation.  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/.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

 

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