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Video Game Pirate Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison

A 36-year-old Ohio man has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for selling more than 35,000 illegally copied computer games online between 2005 and 2009, according to the FBI.

Qiang “Michael“ Bi pleaded guilty July 28, 2010, to one count of mail fraud, one count of copyright infringement, and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to a statement read during Bi's plea hearing, when agents searched Bi's house, they found multiple CD duplicators and more than 1,000 printed counterfeit CDs.

During their investigation, agents discovered Bi would buy a single copy of a game, illegally duplicate it and sell the copies on eBay and Amazon. He also set up a website for customers to download the games they bought. Bi’s customers paid him through eBay and PayPal accounts in his name and in others' names.

In all, Bi sold more than 35,000 copies of fake software games between 2005 and December 2009, charging about $9.95 for each copy.

Bi agreed to forfeit $367,669 in cash, the profit he made off his scam. He also agreed to give up his interests in his house, a car, and all computer and electronic equipment used to illegally copy and sell the games.

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