Techworld

FBI busts software copyright fugitive who fled to Pakistan

The FBI today said it arrested a man on charges of illegally reproducing and distributing more than 100 copyrighted commercial software programs who had fled the country after being indicted last year.

More news: Super Bowl super bust: US seizes 307 websites; grabs $4.8 million in fake NFL merchandise 

Naveed Sheikh, 31, formerly of Baltimore, was arrested at Dulles Airport as he was trying to get back into the U.S. According to the FBI, a year ago Sheikh knew he was under investigation and fled to Pakistan shortly before being indicted on Jan. 13, 2011.

According to the FBI, from February 2004 to April 2008, Sheikh reproduced and distributed more than 100 copyrighted commercial software programs for which he allegedly received over $265,000. The copyrighted works are said to be worth millions of dollars.

Sheikh allegedly advertised through his Internet website and sold infringing copyrighted commercial software at prices well below the suggested retail prices of legitimate, authorized copies of the software. Some of the copyrighted works included Microsoft Money 2006 Small Business, Adobe After Effects Pro 7.0, Veritas NetBackUp Pro 5.1, Solid Works Office 2000 Premium, Quicken Premier Home and Business 2006 and Apple iLife 2006.

The FBI said Sheikh advised purchasers that software programs could be mailed to purchasers on compact discs and downloaded from the Internet. Sheikh created DVD-Rs and CD-Rs with copyright infringing software programs and crack codes. Crack codes let people modify software to remove or disable security protections. Sheikh allegedly requested that purchasers send money orders for infringing software to a P.O. box he maintained in Towson, Md., the FBI stated.

More on high-tech crime: From Anonymous to Hackerazzi: The year in security mischief-making

Sheikh also permitted customers to pay for infringing software through credit card charges and electronic fund transfers. Sheikh paid a company that hosted Internet domains to register multiple Internet domains, including ezencode.com, lazer-toners.com, and coark.net. Sheikh's computer server, which was located in Scranton, Pa., hosted his website. Sheikh used computers in Bel Air, Md., and other computers to contact and control his computer server, the FBI stated.

The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $265,000 and any property derived from or traceable to the proceeds of the scheme. He could get up to five years in prison. No hearing date has been set.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8 and on Facebook.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

More about: Adobe, Apple, Baltimore, Facebook, FBI, LAN, Microsoft, Quicken, Veritas
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