15 December 2017

Two men jailed for selling unauthorised Microsoft keys

Two men have been jailed for a combined total of three years and ordered to pay nearly $1.5 million after admitting conspiracy to commit wire fraud and copyright infringement relating to the sale of unauthorised activation keys for Microsoft products.

In a statement released on Wednesday, December 13, the US attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida outlined the decision, which was handed down by US District Judge Paul Byron.

Robert Stout and Kasey Riley were both sentenced to 18 months in prison and 12 months of home detention. The court also ordered them to pay a total of $1,480,227.

According to the statement, the pair advertised Microsoft software products for sale online, using a variety of sham business names.

They then purchased unauthorised activation keys from various websites and provided them, in exchange for PayPal payments, to at least 13,000 customers throughout the US.

They received at least $1.4 million from customers in exchange for the “unauthorised, and often invalid, activation keys”, the statement read.

“We have stopped these criminals from using intellectual property for their own illegal profit,” said Tampa special agent in charge, James Spero.

“This investigation involved years of hard work by special agents and our partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

This was first published on Trademarks and Brands Online.

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