A Freemont, Calif. couple was among a handful of defendants <A HREF="http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2208068,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594">sentenced to prison Oct. 23 for defrauding Microsoft</A> out of more than $29 million by illegally obtaining discounted software. Husband and wife team Mirza and Sameena Ali, ages 60 and 53, respectively, received five years in prison and were ordered to pay more than $20 million in restitution to Microsoft and forfeit roughly $5 million after being convicted last year of a host of charges, including money laundering and 30 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud.
Co-defendant Keith Griffen, 56, of Oregon City, Ore., was sentenced to two years and nine months for his role in the scheme and ordered to pay more than $20 million to Microsoft after being convicted of nine counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
The trio were involved in a scheme to purchase more than $29 million worth of software that was steeply discounted for academic institutions, and selling it to non-academic entities, in violation of the Microsoft agreement. These convictions were the result of "Operation Cyberstorm," a two-year undercover investigation into software piracy and related crimes by agents from FBI, IRS and REACT Task Force.