MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Some con men live the high life -- enjoying luxury cars, large homes and anything money can buy. FOX6's Contact 6 profiles one of these con men -- showing how these modern day pirates earn their booty -- who they rip off and how they get caught.
"He has been perpetrating this fraud for many years," U.S. Postal Inspector Jan Kostka said.
Selling pirated copies of the multimedia Adobe software on eBay.
"The suspect was selling the software at 20%-25% discount," Kostka said.
Postal inspectors began tracking the suspect after thousands of complaints came into Adobe's anti-piracy group. They went undercover -- setting up internet profiles on eBay to buy the bogus software and test it for authenticity.
They quickly realized the suspect was making a fortune!
"He went from $0 dollars a month to $42,000 a month and is able to provide a lavish lifestyle," Kostka said.
That included luxury cars, a high-end Mercedes, BMW and Pontiac GTO -- and that's not all.
"We seized $144,000 in cash, numerous counterfeit boxes of software, high speed CD duplicator," Kostka said.
What they found most troubling about this case...
"The ease with which my suspect was able to take somebody else`s brilliance and hard work and turn it into easy profit for himself and an undeserving lifestyle and how long he got away with it," Kostka said.
Postal inspectors say that's what consumers should keep in mind when they consider buying a deeply discounted item that it's likely pirated.
A company or an individual found using unlicensed software and violating copyright laws can pay damages of up to $150,000 for each software title copied.
While it might benefit them and the con man, someone else is being harmed.