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Chinese software pirate gets 12 years in US slammer

Crack 99 mastermind sold biz software worth $100 MEEELION

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A Chinese national has been handed a 12 year jail sentence in the United States after being convicted of selling more than $100m of pirated software from his home in Chengdu.

Xiang Li, 36, was sentenced in a federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday after pleading guilty to copyright infringement and wire fraud charges back in January.

The original indictment (PDF from Wired) claimed that Li and his wife Chun Yan Li sold high end business software including products from Microsoft, Oracle and SAP through websites such as “crack99.com” and “cad100.net”.

They would apparently look for hacked software on underground online forums, as well as people with the skills to disable the access controls, before flogging them on their own web sites for a fraction of the original cost.

The two were charged with distributing over 500 copyrighted works valued at $100m to more than 300 buyers between 2008 and 2011, according to Bloomberg.

In a first of its kind, investigators managed to lure Li away from his home in the capital of south-western Sichuan province to US soil – the Pacific island of Saipan, near Guam, where they poised as prospective buyers.

He was apparently caught red-handed with 20GB of proprietary data nabbed from a US software company.

The pair will probably go down in history as among the most unsuccessful software pirates ever caught, not only in the manner in which they were lured onto US soil but also because they only managed to generate profits of around $60,000 over the three years. ®

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