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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Sentencing in eCrime Software Piracy Case

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SANTA CRUZ -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that Michael Anthony Gomez, Jr., 55, of Capitola, was sentenced in Santa Cruz Superior Court on Friday to 16 months in jail after pleading guilty to one count of selling pirated software.

As required by statute, the court ordered Gomez to forfeit any devices used to manufacture, reproduce, transport or assemble the counterfeit goods. He surrendered his computer to the California Department of Justice so it can be refurbished and donated to an appropriate local charity.  Gomez also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $5,000 to AutoDesk and between $200-800 to each of the additional four victims.

“The sale of pirated software defrauds both the users and the developers of the programs, and undermines the strong technology-based segment of California’s economy,” said Attorney General Harris. “The eCrime Unit focuses on crimes involving technology, from piracy to identity theft, and I applaud their professionalism and success in securing this conviction.”

Gomez is alleged to have used Craigslist to sell illegally pirated versions of software programs, including Final Cut Studio III, Microsoft Office for Mac, Rosetta Stone Spanish and Mandarin, AutoDesk Revit and Filemaker 12.  These products retail for up to thousands of dollars, but he sold them for substantially less than the suggested retail prices.

The case was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s eCrime Unit and investigated by the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force (NC3TF). The task force has its main office in Napa County and is one of five inter-agency Computer Crimes Task Forces in California. eCrime Unit prosecutors are assigned to all five task forces.

In April 2012, Gomez was contacted by an investigator with the NC3TF, who observed a post on Craigslist that offered for sale a copy of the program AutoDesk Revit.  On or about April 10, Gomez agreed to sell a 2013 version of the program for $50. Its suggested retail price is $5,000.

Gomez mailed the investigator a DVD containing a version of the program, but it would not load.  Gomez later provided the investigator with a software patch to ensure the program would function.  Properties embedded in the program indicated it was a copy downloaded from the Internet and then burned onto the DVD.

Gomez was charged with Counterfeit of a Registered Trademark Penal Code section 350(a) (2), a felony, as well as four counts of Counterfeit of a Registered Trademark.  Gomez was arrested on July 10.

Gomez is on probation for a 2010 conviction of previously selling pirated software.

In addition to the jail sentence and restitution, Gomez is restricted from having a computer or Internet access for three years. He forfeited his computer equipment to the Attorney General’s office and it will be donated for non-profit and charitable use.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Johnette Jauron of the eCrime Unit.  Attorney General Harris created the eCrime Unit in 2011 to identify and prosecute identity theft crimes, cyber crimes and other crimes involving the use of technology. More information available here: http://oag.ca.gov/cybersafety.

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