Two Florida men pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for their part in a scheme that sold pirated apps with a retail value of more than $700,000.
Thomas Allen Dye, 21, of Jacksonville, FL, and Nicholas Anthony Narbone, 26 of Orlando, FL, pleaded guilty to the same charge – conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement – earlier this month and will end up sentenced in June and July respectively.
Both men were in the Appbucket group, of which Narbone was the leader, which made and sold more than a million copyrighted Android mobile apps through the group’s alternative online market, officials said.
The Department of Justice’s acting assistant attorney general of the criminal division, David O’Neil, said the unit had made fighting intellectual property crime a top priority.
“These men trampled on the intellectual property rights of others when they and other members of the Appbucket group distributed more than one million copies of pirated apps,” he said.
“The Criminal Division has made fighting intellectual property crime a top priority, and these convictions demonstrate our determination to prosecute those who undermine the innovations of others in new technologies.”
“The wholesale theft of intellectual property as seen in this case cannot and will not go unaddressed,” FBI Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson said in a statement Monday. “The FBI will continue to work with its various law enforcement partners in identifying, investigating and presenting for prosecution those individuals and groups engaged in such criminal activities that involve the attempt to profit from the hard work and the developed creative ideas of others.”
Under Dye’s plea agreement, he could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.