Ohio man pleads guilty to selling counterfeit software

The defendant faces up to 20 years in prison for mail fraud and five years for copyright infringement

An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to selling more than US$1 million worth of counterfeit financial and tax preparation software on eBay, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Brandon Davis, 31, of Cincinnati, Ohio, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to one count of mail fraud, one count of copyright infringement and two counts of filing a false income tax return, the DOJ said.

Davis purchased Quicken and Turbo Tax software manufactured by Intuit, then copied the original software multiple times onto CDs, the DOJ said. He also created counterfeit packaging for the CDs. Davis told eBay buyers he was selling original Intuit software, but sold counterfeit copies, usually below the suggested retail price.

Davis failed to report the income from the counterfeit software sales when he filed his income tax returns for 2008 and 2009, the DOJ said.

At sentencing, Davis faces maximum penalties of 20 years in prison for the mail fraud charge, five years in prison for the copyright infringement charge and up to three years in prison for each tax charge. Davis also agreed to a money judgment and tax lien of $80,074 and to pay restitution in an amount to be determined.

He agreed to forfeit all equipment used to manufacture and distribute the fake software, as well as a 2006 Hummer and $192,117 that was seized from his bank accounts. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 22.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder created an intellectual property task force in February 2010.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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Tags U.S. Department of Justiceintellectual propertycopyrightIntuitebaylegalEric HoldersoftwareCriminalU.S. District Court for the Southern District of OhioBrandon Davis

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