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Florida Man Gets 6 Years & Pays 4.1M Restitution for Piracy

Danny Ferrer, of Lakeland, Florida was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison and ordered to pay over 4.1 million dollars in restitution to software authors Adobe Systems Inc., Autodesk, and Macromedia Inc. for selling counterfeit software over the internet. Ferrer's website BuyUSA.com began selling software in 2002 and ran until October of 2005 when it was shut down by the FBI. According to John Wolfe of Business Software Alliance, the software looked legitimate to consumers, but was sold at incredibly discounted prices.

Profits from his sales bought Ferrer such niceties as several airplanes, a Lamborghini, a Hummer, and a fighter-jet simulator, all of which have been ordered to be sold to pay the restitution in the case. "You extended your hand into the pockets of these people," U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III said before sentencing Ferrer. "If severe penalties were not attached, people would line up from here to Los Angeles to do what you've done." Ferrer told judge Ellis that he began selling pirated software to pay for a feeding tube for his sick wife, but agreed that "there was probably a certain amount of greed."

Prosecutors estimated that Ferrer's illegal sales cost the software companies upwards of $20 million, but industry officials say the amount may actually be higher. "This is the ultimate case," prosecutor Jay V. Prabhu said in court. "This is a case where someone made a lot of money."

News source: Associated Press / The Times Tribune

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