A US federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a Chinese businessman to 12 years in prison for selling stolen software used in defense, space technology and engineering with a retail value of more than US$100 million, prosecutors said.
The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware said businessman Li Xiang (李翔), 36, would be deported to China pending his release from prison.
Li, of Chengdu, was arrested in June 2011, in an undercover sting by US Department of Homeland Security agents on Saipan, a US territory near Guam.
Originally charged in a 46-count indictment, he pleaded guilty in January to single counts of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright violations and wire fraud. At the hearing, Li admitted that what he did was “wrong and illegal” and apologized to the court.
Li stole the sophisticated software products from an estimated 200 manufacturers and sold them to 325 black market buyers in 61 countries from 2008 to 2011, prosecutors said.
US buyers in 28 states included a NASA engineer and the chief scientist for a defense and law-enforcement contractor, they said.
Corporate victims in the case included Microsoft Corp, Oracle Corp, Rockwell Automation Inc, Agilent Technologies Inc, Siemens AG, Delcam, Altera Corp and SAP AG, the government said.
The retail value of the business software products Li pirated ranged from several hundred dollars to more than US$1 million apiece. He sold them online for as little as US$20 to US$1,200 through his Web sites, according to government court filings.
Government agents learned of Li’s enterprise after an unidentified US manufacturer noticed his company’s software for sale on one of Li’s Web sites.
The investigation revealed that Li was part of a larger cybercrime organization based in China, prosecutors said.
Through e-mails sent to various customers, Li described himself as being part of “an international organization created to crack” software, they said.