'Operation Cyberstorm' Crushes Software Scammers

Dennis Faas's picture

Forget Operation Barbarossa, Overlord, or any other of those critical events that have shaped modern human history. The new attack to watch is "Operation Cyberstorm," and it's already incurred its first casualties.

Launched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Cyberstorm has been a two year undercover investigation of software fraud. It recently crushed its first four victims, Mirza Ali, his wife Sameena, Keith Griffin, and William Glushenko, all convicted of ripping off Microsoft.

The quadruplet, hailing from California, Oregon, and places unknown (Glushenko) were accused of using fraud to enter Microsoft's Authorized Educational Reseller (AER) program. The Alis and Griffin then bought up Microsoft software discounted for schools, doing so for four years between 1997 and 2001. Even though Microsoft had revoked their AER status the previous year (1996), the Alis used a fake identity and pseudo company to recertify. In 1999, Microsoft stopped certifying new corporations for the AER completely, but this had no effect on the Alis or Griffin. The trio simply began a campaign of buying up other AER companies to continue their shenanigans. (Source: pcworld.com)

The scheme was no slouch. The Alis and Griffen bought a whopping $29 million worth of software and sold it to buyers for a profit of $5 million. Their criminal activity didn't stop there, however; according to the FBI, they then laundered the money to reap impressive interest rates.

Glushenko, although not at the heart of the scam, was convicted for knowing about the plan but not reporting it. He'll serve one year probation and a hundred hours of community service for his silence.

As for the loving couple, the Alis have been sentenced to five years in prison, over $5 million in fines, and $20 million restitution to Microsoft. Griffin received almost three years in prison, and also must pay Microsoft $20 million. (Source: eweek.com)

It seems if the name "Operation Cyberstorm" isn't intimidating enough for software scammers, their results may be.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet