An American software internet piracy ring destroyed, and for once eBay is absent from the story. Two middle-aged brothers have been sent to prison for selling "massive amounts" of pirated software from Adobe, Autodesk and Macromedia, at huge discounts.
They sold software over the internet with a retail value of $5.6m for about a mil. Maurice Robberson, 48, was sent down for three years and told by the federal court in Alexandra, Virgina to pay $855,917 restitution - the entire amount he grossed from his flourishing ecommerce business. Thomas Robberson, 55, was sentenced to 30 months and told to pay back $151,488. They have agreed to forfeit the proceeds, presumably to avoid a longer spell in the slammer.
From late 2002 through October 2005, the brothers in crime and DNA separately ran a bunch of websites, with names likeBestvalueshoppe.com, theDealDepot.com, AmericanSoftwareSales.com, CDsalesUSA.com and AmericanSoftwareSales.com.
Two people who worked with Maurice were sentenced in January. They are Danny Ferrer, 39, imprisoned for six years for selling $4m in pirated software with a retail value of nearly $20m. His website was BUYUSA.com. Alton Lee Grooms, 56, who helped set up some of the illegal businesses and made $150,000, was rewarded for singing like a canary to the feds, with a sentence of a year and a day.