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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fourth Conspirator in SnappzMarket Android Mobile Device App Piracy Group Convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Copyright Infringement

A fourth member of the SnappzMarket online piracy group was convicted yesterday for his role in the illegal distribution of copies of copyrighted Android mobile device applications.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney John A. Horn of the Northern District of Georgia and Special Agent in Charge David J. LeValley of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office made the announcement.

Joshua Taylor, 26, of Kentwood, Michigan, was convicted yesterday of one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement following a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. of the Northern District of Georgia.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Feb. 17, 2017.

Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Taylor and his co-conspirators identified themselves as members of the SnappzMarket Group, which reproduced and distributed copies of copyrighted Android mobile device apps between May 2011 and August 2012.  The co-conspirators distributed the pirated apps without permission from the copyright owners, who sold the apps on legitimate online markets for a fee.  The SnappzMarket Group distributed pirated copies of the apps through the group’s own app and through the SnappzMarket alternative online market website.  On Aug. 21, 2012, the FBI executed a seizure order against the group’s website, the first time a website domain involving mobile device app marketplaces had been seized.  

The total retail value of the more than one million pirated apps distributed by the SnappzMarket Group was estimated to have been more than $1.7 million, according to evidence presented at previous court proceedings.

Co-conspirators Kody Jon Peterson, 24, of Clermont, Florida, and Gary Edwin Sharp II, 29, of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing.  Scott Walton, 29, of Cleveland, Ohio, also pleaded guilty in connection with the conspiracy and was sentenced to 46 months in prison on Aug. 15, 2016.

The FBI investigated the case.  Assistant Deputy Chief John H. Zacharia of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Bly of the Northern District of Georgia prosecuted the case with significant assistance from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the CCIPS Cybercrime Lab. 

16-1347
Topic: 
Cyber Crime
Intellectual Property
Updated November 17, 2016