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Stolen Windows source code fence pleads guilty

He's been a very naughty boy

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A Connecticut man faces up to 10 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to selling illicit copies of Windows source code. William P. Genovese, 28, of Meridan in Connecticut, this week confessed to unlawfully distributing stolen Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 source code over the net, CNN reports. He was caught last year after an unnamed security firm hired by Microsoft and an undercover FBI agent both made sample purchases through a site run by Genovese called illmob.org.

Genovese is charged with a single charge of unlawfully distributing a trade secret, an offence which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail as well as fines of up to $250K or twice the profit from a criminal racket, whichever is greater. Since Genovese was selling the Windows source code for only $20 a pop it's unlikely he made much money. Genovese previously said he'd only been singled out for punishment because the software giant and law enforcement officials had failed to locate people who stole the code in the first place. He claimed he was only doing what many other geeks were doing when the code spilled into the open in February 2004 and that the nominal fee he charged was only a "joke".

According to court papers (PDF), Genovese (AKA illwill) was previously sentenced to two years probation following a conviction for eavesdropping in March 2003. The eavesdropping charges arose from Genovese's use of keylogging software to spy on victims' net activities in 2000. ®

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