Federal immigration officials announced today they have seized $14.8 million from a Swiss bank account of a fugitive entrepreneur accused of selling counterfeit security software over the Internet.
Shaileskumar Jain, 41, also known as Sam Jain, formerly of Mountain View, has been charged in federal court in San Jose for the fraudulent windfall of millions of dollars from sales of counterfeit copies of anti-virus programs made by Mountain View-based Symantec Corporation.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte declared him a fugitive after he failed to show up for two court hearings in January 2009.
Accused in a 2008 indictment of 31 counts of fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods in 2003, Jain's indictment alleges that he took in a total of $13.5 million for the sale of counterfeit software through several Internet websites.
Jain allegedly recruited customers through a combination of email spamming and pop-up advertising that sent viewers to his websites.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security
Investigations agency announced today that they seized the $14.8 million in a related forfeiture action.
The agency completed the forfeiture May 31 after the Swiss government transferred the money to the U.S. Treasury in compliance with a seizure warrant issued in federal court in New York.
Joseph Vincent, assistant special agent in charge of the agency's San Jose office, said the amount seized included the $13.5 million cited in the indictment.
Authorities continue to wait for an accounting from the Swiss government as to the source of the remainder $1.3 million taken from the Swiss account, he said.
ICE Director John Morton, in a statement from his Washington, D.C., office, said authorities hoped some of Jain's "ill-gotten gains will soon go to compensate the legitimate software maker that lost millions as a result of this scheme."
In the meantime, he said, "We're continuing our efforts to locate this fugitive so he can be brought to justice for his crimes."
Vincent said investigators have followed up on information that indicate Jain may have fled to Ukraine.
Anyone with information about Jain's whereabouts is urged to contact ICE's 24-hour tip line at (866) DHS-2ICE.
Jain's defense attorney in the criminal case, Ted Cassman, of Berkeley, declined to comment on the forfeiture.
Vincent said, "People need to realize that the sale and purchase of counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime."
"Commercial piracy and product counterfeiting undermine the U.S. economy, rob Americans of jobs, stifle American innovation and promote other types of crime," he said.
Reported by Bay City News