Chinese national Xiang Li pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and wire fraud, according to a press release.
The individual operated a website used to distribute more than $100 million worth of pirated software around the world, making it one of the most significant cases of copyright infringement ever uncovered.
Li could face a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to statements made at the plea hearing and documents filed in court, HSI identified Li as the operator of a website located at www.Crack99.com that was advertising thousands of pirated software titles at a fraction of their retail value. The investigation revealed that Li used the Crack 99 website to distribute pirated or cracked software to customers all over the world, including the United States. Software is "cracked" when its digital license files and access control features have been disabled or circumvented. …
During the course of the charged conspiracy from April 2008 to June 2011, Li engaged in more than 500 transactions, in which he distributed approximately 550 different copyrighted software titles to at least 325 purchasers located in at least 28 states and more than 60 foreign countries.
The activities cost United States companies at least $100 million and could have harmed national security interests, according to one company involved in the case.