Prison Sentences for Ringleaders of Global Software Counterfeit Syndicate

Sentencing signals the end of Taiwan-based operation, the largest known producer and distributor of fake Microsoft products in the world from 1997 to 2003.

Prison sentences handed down to counterfeiters by a Taipei, Taiwan, court mark the end of a string of successful prosecutions by international law enforcement agencies, bringing a global software counterfeiting ring to a final halt. Between 1997 and 2003, Huang Jer-sheng, owner of the Taipei-based distributor Maximus Technology Inc., and his associates were responsible for the production and distribution of more than 90 percent of the high-quality counterfeit Microsoft software products either seized by law enforcement or test-purchased around the world.

The syndicate produced counterfeit versions of at least 21 Microsoft software products in seven known languages, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and simplified Chinese, worth an estimated $900 million (U.S.). These products were then distributed and ultimately sold to unwitting resellers and consumers in over 600 cities and at least 22 known countries and regions across the globe: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Croatia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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