Software Piracy Earns Fla. Man 6-Year Prison Term

The Department of Justice says a Web site sold more than $4 million in pirated software during a three-year period.

A federal judge sentenced the owner of a Web site that peddled more than $4 millions worth of pirated software from such companies as Adobe Systems, Autodesk and Macromedia, to six years in federal prison, the Department of Justice announced Aug. 25.

The Web site owner, Danny Ferrer, 37, of Lakeland, Fla., must also pay restitution of $4.1 million, forfeit any assets and perform 50 hours of community service once his sentence is complete, authorities said.

Between 2002 and 2005, Ferrer operated, a Web site that sold copyrighted software at prices "substantially below the suggested retail price," the Department of Justice said.

Federal authorities estimated that software companies lost about $20 million in sales from pirated software sold through Ferrers Web site.

The software was burned onto a CD and sent through the mail. Ferrer would also include the serial number that would allow a user to install the software on a PC.

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Ferrer made a profit of about $4.1 million during those three years and spent the money on a number of luxury items that included two Cessna planes, a RotorWay International helicopter, a 1992 Lamborghini and three different Chevrolet Corvettes.

In addition to the luxury cars, helicopters and airplanes, Ferrer purchased two fire trucks, an ambulance and a 28-foot boat during the three years he operated his Web site, federal authorities said.

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"Danny Ferrer obtained millions of dollars worth of luxury items by stealing and pirating the works of others," Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Department of Justices Criminal Division said in a statement.

"But now, the cars and planes and boats he paid for with the proceeds of his crime are being taken by the government, and he will spend six years in jail," Fisher said.

After the Department of Justice received a number of complaints about Ferrers Web site, an undercover FBI agent purchased several pieces of software. On Oct. 19, 2005, Ferrer was charged by federal authorities.

On June 15, 2006, Ferrer plead guilty to conspiracy and a copyright infringement. The case was prosecuted in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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