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Three Convicted of Software Fraud

Federal prosecutors announced the convictions of three Oregon residents on Wednesday, saying they had colluded to buy and resell some $29 million worth of Microsoft software intended for educational institutions to non-academic customers.

Keith Griffen, 55, of Oregon City, and Mirza Ali, 59, and wife Sameena, 52, were convicted in an Oregon federal court last month on conspiracy and fraud charges. The software was purchased from 1997 through 2001 through front companies and the purchase of others.

Microsoft claims it lost more than $60 million as a result. Griffen and the Alis took advantage of a program offered by the Redmond company which allows for the purchase of discounted software, as long as it is resold to academic institutions.

Lawyers for the group intend to appeal, saying they believed the individuals were legally entitled to buy and resell the software in the manner that they did.

Discounted software for academic use is relatively easy to buy from a reseller without much identification, although it was not immediately clear if that was what the trio was doing.

In addition to the charges above, the Alis have also been convicted of money laundering for buying property under their son’s name and sending nearly $300,000 to Pakistan. Their son was not charged.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 12, prosecutors said.


Three Convicted of Software Fraud

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