Police Seize $100 Million in Fake Software

While watching TechTV this morning (with a nasty cold I might add! :S), I noticed this story on fake software that was grabbed by authorities on LA after an 18 month investigation.

Law enforcement officials announced the largest seizure of counterfeit software in US history on Friday: a shipping container of cleverly faked copies of Microsoft's flagship Windows programs -- valued at $100 million.

Federal investigators and police said a well-funded syndicate operating in Taiwan and the Los Angeles area had tried to ship the pirated software here by bribing an undercover agent posing as a US Customs Service official.

"We intercepted the nerve," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told reporters at a county warehouse where nearly 31,000 copies of the Windows operating system were held.

"This is like a drug cartel. This is like intercepting a drug cartel," Baca told Reuters.

The copies of Windows Millennium Edition and Windows 2000 Professional were indistinguishable from the real thing, except for their lack of authenticating holograms on the CDs, flaws in packaging, and other slight defects, LaMagna said.

More than 4,000 copies of the operating manual for Microsoft's newly released Windows XP were also seized in the shipment, suggesting that software pirates were gearing up to produce and ship bootleg copies of the company's new program, which was just released on October 25, LaMagna said.

There were also illegal copies of Symantec antivirus software in a 40-foot container full of software that was searched and seized after it was offloaded from a merchant vessel.

News source: TechTV News

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