19 Indicted in Software Piracy Case

By MEGAN REICHGOTT, Associated Press Writer

Federal authorities on Wednesday announced the indictment of 19 people accused of using the Internet to pirate more than $6.5 million in copyrighted computer software, games and movies.

The 15-count indictment outlines an alleged plot by defendants across the United States to illegally distribute newly released titles, including movies like "The Incredibles" and "The Aviator," and games like "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005."

The indictment, returned late Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Chicago, followed undercover investigations in Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and San Jose, Calif., according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and the FBI.

"Online thieves who steal merchandise that companies work hard to produce and protect might think that cyberspace cloaks them in anonymity and makes them invulnerable to prosecution, but we have the ability to infiltrate their secret networks and hold them accountable for their criminal conduct," Fitzgerald said in a statement.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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