Notorious software pirate pleads guilty

June 16, 2006

The head of what U.S. officials called a "massive for-profit software piracy Wed site" pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and copyright infringement.

Danny Ferrer, 37, of Lakeland, Fla., will face a maximum of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced by a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., on Aug. 25.

Ferrer was arrested last year on charges stemming from BUYUSA.com, a Web site he and co-conspirators operated that peddled unauthorized copies of software from companies such as Adobe, Macromedia and Autodesk.

The Justice Department said in a news release the software disks were sold at well below legitimate retail prices and even included a serial number the buyer would use to activate the product.

Losses to the software industry were pegged at about $20 million.

The enterprise seemed to pay off well for the pirates; Ferrer was required to forfeit three airplanes, a helicopter and a collection of late-model vehicles including a Hummer, Lamborghini and three Chevy Corvettes.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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