The United States Attorney's Office in Richmond, Virginia, working closely with special agents with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and piracy investigators with Microsoft Corporation, successfully prosecuted Ben John Barbot of Richmond, Virginia, earlier this year. From early 2001 to December 3, 2002, Barbot knowingly engaged in the illegal distribution of counterfeit Microsoft software through multiple Internet-based stores Barbot himself created. Barbot primarily distributed CDs of counterfeit Microsoft Office Pro 2000, though he distributed relatively smaller numbers of other counterfeit Microsoft products. Much of the software distributed by Barbot were extremely high quality counterfeits that had been produced and imported from rogue production plants in Asia.
Working closely with industry and law enforcement investigators, prosecutors determined that Barbot, using approximately a dozen Internet-based stores, distributed well over $7 million dollars retail value of infringing Microsoft Office Professional 2000 computer software during the relevant time period. (A conservative estimate of the loss reached $12 million dollars, though this number was not determined precisely by the court because the defendant, as part of his guilty plea, stipulated that the loss value fell in the guideline range lying between $7 and $20 million dollars.) Prosecutors also seized or froze a total of $1 million dollars in the defendant's assets to be applied to restitution in the case.
On December 3, 2003, the defendant pled guilty to one count of Criminal Infringement of Copyright, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 2319, and Title 17 U.S.C. Section 506(a), and one count of Trafficking In Counterfeit Goods, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 2320(a).
On March 5, 2004, United States District Court Judge Henry Hudson sentenced Barbot to 70 month's of incarceration and entered a restitution order for $1.7 million dollars payable to Microsoft, which was an amount that the Government and defendant agreed represented the minimum profit Barbot derived from his criminal activities. As of today's date, the defendant has paid a total of $1,355,889 to be applied toward restitution.
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