FBI takes out alleged Android app scammers

FBI said groups wanted to illegally sell millions of copy written Android Apps

The FBI has charged four people in court with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

According to the FBI, Kody Peterson, of Clermont, Florida, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement; Thomas Dye of Jacksonville, Florida; Nicholas Anthony Narbone, 26, of Orlando, Florida; and Thomas Pace of Oregon City, Oregon, were hit with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. Peterson was arraigned on January 23, 2014, and Dye, Narbone and Pace were arraigned last week.

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The FBI said Peterson and his co-conspirators called their company the SnappzMarket Group. From May 2011 until August 2012, Peterson conspired with other members of the SnappzMarket Group to reproduce and distribute more than one million copies of copyrighted Android mobile device apps through the SnappzMarket alternative online market, without permission from the software developers and other copyright owners of the apps, who would otherwise sell copies of the apps on legitimate online markets for a fee.

According to FBI, Dye, Narbone, Pace and other conspirators also identified themselves as the Appbucket Group. From August 2010 to August 2012, defendants conspired with other members of the Appbucket Group to reproduce and distribute more than one million copies of copyrighted Android mobile device apps through the Appbucket alternative online market without permission from the copyright owners of the apps.

The FBI said SnappzMarket Group and the Appbucket Group rented computer servers to host websites such as www.snappzmarket.com and www.appbucket.net, respectively, to provide digital storage for the pirated copies of copyrighted Android apps that each group distributed to their members or subscribers. On August 21, 2012, seizure orders were executed against these two website domain names for the illegal distribution of copies of copyrighted Android mobile device apps-the first time website domains involving mobile device app marketplaces have been seized, the FBI stated.

The maximum prison sentence for the charge of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement is five years in prison.

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