Trio allegedly made millions of dollars from selling stolen Avaya Direct International software licenses used to unlock features of a popular telephone system.
Avaya's IP office is a telephone system used by many small and medium businesses in the US. Users wanting to unlock additional functionality like voicemail had to purchase an Avaya-generated license.
According to the indictment, unsealed by the Western District of Oklahoma, a long-time customer service employee at Avaya, Brad Pearce, used his system administrator privileges to generate tens of millions of dollars of ADI software license keys. He also allegedly hijacked the accounts of former Avaya employees to generate additional ADI software license keys.
Pearce also used his privileges to conceal the wrongdoing and prevent the company from discovering the fraud scheme for many years.
Pearce's wife, Dusti Pearce, is alleged to have handled accounting and helped run the financial side of the illegal business.
A third defendant, Jason Hines, operated Direct Business Services International (DBSI), a de-authorized Avaya reseller, in New Jersey. He allegedly bought software licenses from the Pearces under his name and used an alias. Hines was allegedly one of the world's biggest users of the ADI license system.
Pearces and Hines were selling licenses significantly below the wholesale price, which allegedly undercut the global market in Avaya ADI software licenses and prevented the company from making any money on its stolen intellectual property.
"Altogether, the Pearces and Hines allegedly reaped millions of dollars from the fraud. Moreover, to hide the nature and source of the money, the Pearces allegedly funneled their illegal gains through a PayPal account created under a false name to multiple bank accounts and then transferred the money to numerous other investment and bank accounts," the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Defendants allegedly purchased large quantities of gold bullion and other valuable items. Numerous other assets are also subject to forfeiture, including cash, gold, silver, collectible coins, cryptocurrency, and real property.
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