Ohio Man Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Selling More Than 35,000 Illegally Copied Video Games Over the Internet
The FBI reported this week that Qiang “Michael” Bi of Powell, Ohio was sentenced to 30 months in prison for selling more than 35,000 illegally copied computer games over the Internet between 2005 and 2009.
Bi, 36 years old, pleaded guilty back in July to one count of mail fraud, one count of copyright infringement, and one count of aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced to six months each for the mail fraud and copyright infringement crimes and an additional 24 months for the aggravated identity theft.
Following his release from prison, the judge ordered Bi to two years of supervised release with twelve months of the supervised release to be spent in home confinement. He was also sentenced to serve 416 months of community service and will be required to make restitution to the companies who created the games. The amount of restitution is yet to be determined. Bi agreed to forfeit $367,669 in cash which represents the proceeds of the crimes. He also agreed to forfeit his interests in his house, a car, and all computer and electronic equipment used to illegally copy and sell the games.
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According to a statement of facts read during Bi’s plea hearing, agents executed a search warrant at Bi’s house and found multiple CD duplicators and more than 1,000 printed counterfeit CDs. Some of the CDs were still in the duplicator. During their investigation, agents learned that Bi would buy a single copy of a game, illegally duplicate it and sell the copies on eBay.com and Amazon.com. He also set up a website for customers to download the games they bought. Bi accepted payment through eBay and PayPal accounts in his name and in others’ names.
The games he sold were products from 60 different publishers with the estimated total retail value of the games around $700,000. Bi sold the counterfeit games for around $9.95 each.
Agents and officers with the FBI Cybercrime Task Force, and U.S. Postal Inspectors are credited with the success of the case.
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