In what amounts to an excellent example of international cooperation, the FBI and the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Public Security have together made numerous arrests and confiscated more than a half a billion dollars of counterfeit software.
This was a very involved operation with the code name Summer Solstice and the investigation began back in 2005 and since then both countries have worked together to investigate groups that manufacture and also distribute counterfeit software world wide. The successful outcome of Operation Summer Solstice resulted in the arrest of 25 suspects. The Chinese Government seized assets worth in excess of $7 million along with the seizure of more than 290,000 counterfeit CDs along with certificates of authenticity in China.
Back in the US, the agents with the Los Angeles office of the FBI served 24 search warrants and asset seizure warrants and came up with another $2 million worth of software and seized assets worth about $700,000.
The investigations are still going on both in China and the US focusing on criminal organizations have been identified in two cities in China, Shanghai and Shenzhen and their distributors were identified in the US.
One group that was investigated is the MA Ke Pei organization from Shanghai which was allegedly responsible for supplying counterfeit goods to many of the distributors based in the United States. Back in 2003, MA Ke Pei, was indicted in New York on charges related to criminal copyright and trademark violations namely, manufacturing and distributing counterfeit Microsoft software products. MA fled the United States and upon returning to China, he allegedly continued his counterfeit operation. Since then, MA is alleged to have created and directed an international organization for the sole purpose of manufacturing and distributing counterfeit Symantec software products.
This is when The FBI in Los Angeles and the MPS in China began to work together in an effort to assist to in the ongoing MPS investigation into MA Ke Pei. This cooperation led to the arrest of MA Ke Pei and 10 of his co-conspirators. The Chinese authorities were able to freeze more than $500,000 in cash as well as 5 real estate properties owned by MA Ke Pei and in addition seized the equipment that they had used to manufacture the counterfeit Symantec computer software products.
Many of the American-based distributors that were served with the warrants where allegedly customers of the MA Ke Pei multinational criminal organization.
The MPS, ECID, and the FBI also had the help of software industry investigators. The software industry experts say they believe that about 70% of these counterfeit products were shipped to and sold in the United States with the remaining 30% going to other countries.
Source: FBI http://losangeles.fbi.gov/pressrel/2007/la072307.htm