Capitola Man Arrested for Software Piracy

Capitola Man Arrested for Software Piracy

SANTA CRUZ - The Attorney General's Office has charged a Capitola man with pirating software and selling it online.

An investigator with the Northern California Computer Crimes task force contacted Michael Anthony Gomez, Jr., in April after spotting a post on Craigslist offering a copy of the computer program AutoDesk Revit for $50. The suggested retail price is $5,000.

Gomez mailed the investigator a DVD containing a version of the program, but it wouldn't load and Gomez later provided the investigator with a software patch to ensure the program would function, according to Attorney General Kamala D. Harris' office. Properties embedded in the program indicated it was a copy downloaded from the Internet and then burned onto the DVD.

The complaint also accuses Gomez, 55, of selling other illegally pirated software programs using Craigslist. Those programs include Final Cut Studio III, Microsoft Office and the Rosetta Stone language programs. The software products regularly retail for up to thousands of dollars, but Gomez was selling them for substantially less, according to Nick Pacilio, a spokesman for the Attorney General.

According to the complaint, this wasn't the first time Gomez ran into trouble with the law for online crime. He was convicted in Santa Clara County in 2010 for selling pirated software.

Gomez was arrested last week and charged with five felony counts of counterfeiting a registered trademark. One of those counts is a charge of counterfeiting a registered trademark with a prior conviction for the same.

Gomez pleaded not guilty to all charges and is due back in court Friday to confirm a preliminary hearing for next week. He remains in County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to records.

"Illegally selling pirated software rips off both consumers and developers of the programs, and undermines the strong technology-based segment of California's economy," Harris said. "Criminals are moving their crimes online, and law enforcement must embrace innovation to counter this emerging threat."

The Attorney General's eCrime unit, established by Harris in 2011, is tasked with investigating and prosecuting large-scale identity theft and technology crimes with actual losses in excess of $50,000. The unit's primary mission is to investigate and prosecute multi-jurisdictional criminal organizations, networks and groups that perpetrate identity theft crimes, use an electronic device or network to commit a crime, or commit a crime targeting an electronic device, network or intellectual property

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