Four More Convicted in eBay Fraud Case

May 2, 2007

Guilty pleas bring the number of people convicted of illegally selling copyrighted software to seven.

Four more defendants have pleaded guilty in federal court to selling more than $19 million in copyrighted software from Rockwell Automation over eBay, bringing the total number of convictions in the case to seven.

Eric Neil Barber of Manila, Ark., Phillip Buchanan of Hampton, Ga., Wendell Jay Davis of Las Vegas and Craig J. Svetska, of West Chicago, Ill., all pleaded guilty before a U.S. District Court judge in Milwaukee on April 26. The four men confessed to selling the counterfeit software over the Web in violation of criminal copyright infringement laws.

In addition to the four pleas in Wisconsin, there have been two convictions in the Eastern District of Michigan and another in the Southern District of Indiana. The combined retail value of the counterfeit software in all seven cases is approximately $25 million, according to FBI officials.

Rockwell Automation produces specialized factory management software. Law enforcement officials put the retail prices of the software sold by the three defendants between roughly $900 to $11,325.

The guilty pleas were an outgrowth of an investigation by the FBI's Milwaukee Field Office. Svetska admitted that from June 4, 2003, through Aug. 4, 2004, he initiated at least 376 eBay transactions, under various usernames, in which he sold Rockwell Automation software and netted approximately $59,700 in profits. The actual retail value of this software was more than $7.6 million, FBI officials said.

Barber and Buchanan admitted their involvement in the scheme as well, though during different time periods. They also admitted to profiting $32,500 and $13,100, respectively. Davis, who confessed to initiating 53 online auctions between Feb. 17, 2003, and Aug. 30, 2004, pocketed about $17,000 - despite the fact that the actual retail value of the software he sold was nearly $8 million, FBI officials said.

Each of the defendants face up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. Sentencing has been set for July 24.

Copyright 2007 by Ziff Davis Media, Distributed by United Press International

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