Powell Man Sentenced for Selling More Than 35,000 Illegally Copied Videogames Over the Internet
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 29, 2010|
COLUMBUS—Qiang “Michael” Bi, 36, of Powell was sentenced in United States District Court here to 30 months incarceration for selling more than 35,000 illegally copied computer games over the Internet between 2005 and 2009. He will also be required to make restitution to the companies who created the games. The amount of restitution is yet to be determined.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Keith L. Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cincinnati Division (FBI), and Dugan T. Wong, Assistant Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
Bi pleaded guilty on July 28, 2010 to one count of mail fraud, one count of copyright infringement, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Bi was sentenced to six months each for the mail fraud and copyright infringement crimes. Those sentences will run concurrently. He will serve an additional 24 months for the aggravated identity theft.
Judge Marbley also sentenced Bi to two years of supervised release following his prison time. Twelve months of the supervised release will be spent in home confinement. He was also sentenced to serve 416 months of community service.
According to a statement of facts read during Bi’s plea hearing, agents executed a search warrant at Bi’s house and found multiple CD duplicators and more than 1,000 printed counterfeit CDs. Some of the CDs were still in the duplicator. During their investigation, agents learned that Bi would buy a single copy of a game, illegally duplicate it and sell the copies on eBay.com and Amazon.com. He also set up a website for customers to download the games they bought. Bi accepted payment through eBay and PayPal accounts in his name and in others’ names.
Bi sold more than 35,000 copies of counterfeit software games between 2005 and December 2009. The games were original works of more than 60 different software companies. The estimated total retail value of the games is about $700,000. He sold each counterfeit game for around $9.95.
Bi agreed to forfeit $367,669 in cash which represents the proceeds of the crimes. He also agreed to forfeit his interests in his house, a car, and all computer and electronic equipment used to illegally copy and sell the games.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by agents and officers with the FBI Cybercrime Task Force, and U.S. Postal Inspectors. He also commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah A. Solove, who prosecuted the case.