Computer-game counterfeiter sentenced
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:31 PM
By Kathy Lynn Gray
The Columbus Dispatch
A former Nationwide Insurance employee is to spend 2 1/2 years in prison for counterfeiting and selling more than 35,000 computer games.
Qiang "Michael" Bi, 36, of Powell, promised today in U.S. District Court in Columbus to "be a better person" and "never commit another crime" just before Judge Algenon L. Marbley sentenced him on charges of mail fraud, copyright infringement and aggravated identity theft.
The sentence includes two years of probation includingone year of home confinement after prison, 416 hours of community service and a yet-to-be determined restitution amount. Bi also forfeited $367,669 in cash, representing the proceeds of the crimes, as well as his house, a car and computer and electronic equipment.
"I believe at your core you are a good person," Marbley told Bi. "You made a gross error in judgment ... and it seemed all motivated by greed."
Agents with the FBI Cybercrime Task Force and the U.S. Postal Inspectors investigated the scheme after Nationwide found a spreadsheet Bi had sent from his personal e-mail account to his Nationwide e-mail account.
The spreadsheet listed more than 50 eBay and PayPal accounts, all with different names on the accounts, used to sell counterfeit software games online. Investigators found that Bi had sold the games from 2005 through December 2009 for $10 rather than the $20 retail price for an original new game.
Investigators estimated that the value of the games Bi counterfeited and sold would have been $700,000 at retail.