Chinese Man Gets 12-Year Sentence in U.S. for Software Piracy

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced that a Chinese national was recently sentenced to 144 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and copyright infringement (h/t Computerworld).

Xiang Li, 36, of Chengdu, China operated a Web site, Crack99.com, through which he distributed over $100 million worth of pirated industrial software to more than 400 customers in at least 28 U.S. states and over 60 countries, which makes it one of the most significant cases of copyright infringement ever uncovered by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Li, who also sold 20 GB of confidential data stolen from a defense contractor, pleaded guilty to the charges on January 7, 2013.

"Xiang Li mistakenly thought he was safe from the long arm of HSI, hiding halfway around the world in cyberspace anonymity," John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia, said in a statement. "Fast forward to today, where he has been sentenced for illegally stealing, distributing and ultimately exploiting American ingenuity and creativity."

"Counterfeiting and intellectual property theft is one of the most serious threats this century to U.S. businesses and innovation," Kelleghan added. "In this one case alone, Li was responsible for more than $100 million in lost revenue to American companies."