ORLANDO, Fla. – A Windermere man and woman accused of illegally selling Microsoft products through fake businesses pleaded guilty this week in federal court, the Department of Justice said.
Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow said Robert Stout, 51, and Kasey Riley Stout, 33, of Windermere face up to 20 years in prison each if convicted on wire fraud and copyright infringement charges.
Muldrow said the duo advertised Microsoft software online, using different sham business names, and purchased unauthorized activation keys to sell. The Stouts accepted payments using PayPal from at least 13,000 customers in the U.S. adding up to more then $1.4 million, according to the DOJ news release.
In one year alone, the Stouts sold the same activation key more than 880 times and received many complaints that the codes did not work, Muldrow said.
More than 140 complaints to the Better Business Bureau have been submitted for the Stout's "sham business," according to the release.
Microsoft also ordered the Stouts to stop selling their products. Those warnings were ignored, Muldrow said.
According to Microsoft.com, a product key without an installation disc is likely not genuine. The company discourages users from downloading its software through third party websites.
An investigation by Homeland Security and the FBI led to charges against the Stouts.