A Florida man and woman are being accused of illegally selling Microsoft products and software through fake businesses. The accused persons (the Stouts) pleaded guilty last week at a U.S. federal court, according to the Department of Justice.
Robert Stout, 51, and Kasey N. Riley (formerly Kasey Stout), 33, will face up to 20 years in prison each if convicted on wire fraud and copyright infringement charges, according to acting United States Attorney, W. Stephen Muldrow.
According to the charges, the accused persons advertised Microsoft software online, using fake business names, and purchased unauthorized activation keys to sell. The DOJ press release states that the Stouts accepted payments using PayPal from at least 13,000 customers in the U.S. adding up to more then $1.4 million.
“Stout and Riley purchased unauthorized activation keys from various websites – including wholesaledwindows8key.com, buy2010key.net, cheapkeyoffer.com, godkey.net, and Alibaba – and provided those unauthorized activation keys, in exchange for PayPal payments, to customers throughout the United States. Stout and Riley received at least $1,480,227 from customers in exchange for providing them with the unauthorized, and often invalid, activation keys.”
Microsoft had reached out to the Stouts demanding that they stop selling their products but the warnings were ignored.
This case was investigated by the Albany Field Office of the FBI and the Orlando Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers and Middle District of Florida Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina R. Downes, on assignment from the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, ICE.