Details of the largest case ever instigated by WolverhamptonTrading Standards against software piracy have started to come to light with a prisonsentence being handed out to a counterfeiter.
The conclusion of the case that was heard in WolverhamptonCrown Court last week with Steve Adams, Julie Frendo and Gregg Gartside admittingcharges relating to illegal copying and selling at Wigan Computer Fair.
Adams was described asliving the life of luxury with a £14,600 Rolex watch and enough cash to spare £4,000 for hisgirlfriend Julie Frendo to have breast enlargement surgery.
His sales of ripped off software and films, peddled throughcomputer fairs, supported an apartment in Spain, a Range Rover and someweight-loss surgery, which involved having a gastric band fitted for £6,000.
Barry Berlin, prosecuting, told the court that the Councilhad never seen an operation on this scale, which involved 30,000 counterfeitdiscs, and Adams had been running a “substantial counterfeiting operation allover the country, literally from Wolverhampton through to Carlisle.”
“The cost to the industry is in the region of £924,000. Wesubmit that the profit to him is around £200,000, but that’s a conservativeestimate,” he added that £627,000 had been moved around his bank accounts.
Adams was given two yearsand a further 12 months for offending while on bail. Frendo picked up a 12months suspended sentence and Gartside, who helped out at the computer fairs,also received a 12 month suspended sentence.
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has been supportingefforts to clamp down on piracy and Najeeb Khan, vice chair of the BSA UKcountry committee, backed the tough sentences.
“While Mr Adams andhis accomplices enjoyed a period of luxury, the scale of their duplicity wasunsustainable. Pirates may profit in the short-term but this case should beregarded as a warning to others involved in the sale of counterfeit softwarethat they will be caught and the consequences can be serious.,” he said.
Last month the BSA notched up another victory against piracy in Wolverhampton after issuing proceedings against the owner of Wolverhampton-basedRJ-Software.