By Paul Shukovsky
March 17, 2008
A Seattle man was sentenced to 51 months in prison Monday for using
file-sharing software to steal people's identities and buy merchandise
under their names.
Calling Gregory Kopiloff a "highwayman in the virtual world," U.S.
District Judge James Robart declined a defense recommendation for a
"This sort of activity is not going to be tolerated," Robart said.
Kopiloff pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, mail fraud and
accessing a protected computer without authorization to further fraud.
He victimized more than 50 people and caused about $70,000 in losses,
according to court records.
The peer-to-peer network Kopiloff exploited is the type that is used to
swap music online.
That led Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Warma to call his crimes "a
particularly egregious form of identity theft, with Kopiloff invading
the sanctity of people's homes to steal the most personal information
from peoples' computers."
Kopiloff used software such as LimeWire to search the computers of
members of the file-sharing network for federal income tax returns,
student financial aid applications and credit reports, according to
The stolen merchandise would be shipped to mailboxes around the Puget
Sound region, then sold for about half its retail value.
Kopiloff apologized to the court Monday, saying, "I am truly sorry I've
caused so much pain and suffering."
Robart rejected a plea for leniency from Kopiloff's attorney, Jennifer
Wellman. The judge said Kopiloff admits to drug and gambling problems,
"to which I would add a moral-compass problem."
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