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Saturday, May 17, 2008
EBay seller pleaded guilty to software piracy charges


He created more than 40 fake seller IDs and PayPal accounts after capturing people's bank account information through a keystroke logger.

A 23-year-old Oregon man has pleaded guilty to charges that he used identity theft to set up bogus accounts on eBay, where he sold counterfeit software with a retail value of more than US$1 million, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Jeremiah Joseph Mondello of Eugene, Oregon, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count each of criminal copyright infringement, aggravated identity theft and mail fraud before Judge Ann Aiken in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. He faces up to 27 years in prison and a fine of $500,000, the DOJ said.

Last year, the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) used a proprietary Auction Enforcement Tool to identify Mondello from an eBay seller ID. The group linked him to several other eBay identities and forwarded its information to the U.S. Department of Justice Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).

Investigators believe he created more than 40 fake seller IDs and PayPal accounts after capturing people's bank account information through a keystroke logger launched via the Internet. He used the fake IDs to increase his seller ratings on eBay, the SIIA said.

In addition to the Mondello plea, SIIA announced Thursday it has filed nine lawsuits against eBay sellers suspected of trafficking in pirated software. The trade group has filed 26 cases against online sellers this year.

The new SIIA lawsuits were filed against sellers based in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida and New York.

The Mondello case is "a huge victory in the fight against software piracy on eBay and other auction sites," said Keith Kupferschmid, SIIA's senior vice president of intellectual property policy and enforcement. "He was doing a lot of other things that were just as bad, if not worse, than piracy."


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