US man faked $500,000-worth of Adobe software

Adobe HQ buildingA US man has pleaded guilty to federal charges of selling counterfeit versions of Adobe software.

52-year-old Jeffrey Scott Patterson admitted that, over the course of around eight years, he used two websites to advertise and sell counterfeit Adobe software - including Acrobat, Photoshop and Creative Suite – at prices below retail. 

“Protecting the business community's intellectual property from being stolen is an important aspect of protecting our nation's economy,” said US Attorney Eileen Decker in a Department of Justice (DoJ) statement.

“Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime, and all consumers end up paying the costs associated with the theft of IP.”

Patterson – who sometimes went under the name Bruce Allen - offered victims either a digital download or a CD version of the pirated Adobe software. To bypass Adobe’s security protocols, Patterson altered the software and used a key generator to give his customers a counterfeit key code that must be entered by a user when the software is installed on a computer. Many of the counterfeit key codes failed to work, which prompted numerous complaints to Adobe and Patterson.

Patterson's activities were uncovered after special agents with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) made two undercover purchases at about half of the full retail price – one for Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional and one for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium.

Records obtained by HSI agents showed that Patterson generated well over $500,000 in sales over the course of his scheme.“As this case makes clear, law enforcement is using every tool available to keep intellectual property thieves from profiting from others’ products, creativity, and ideas,” said Mark Selby, deputy special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. 

“Simply put, product counterfeiting amounts to economic sabotage and HSI will move aggressively to target those who get rich at the expense of those businesses that play by the rules.”

The charge of trafficking in counterfeit goods carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. Patterson is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27.

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