A Ukrainian citizen has been sentenced in federal court in San Jose to two years and 11 months in prison for selling counterfeit software of products by U.S. companies via the Internet.

Maksam Vysochanskyy, 28, of Ternopil, Ukraine, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge James Ware.

Vysochanskyy, also known as Maksam Kovalchuk, was arrested in Thailand in 2003 and extradited to the United States in 2004, Mercury News informs.

U.S. attorney Kevin Ryan said the case is one of the first in the nation to involve an extradition in a prosecution for intellectual property offenses.

Ryan said, ``This groundbreaking case demonstrates the resolve of this office and its pioneering CHIP unit to combat the theft of the nation's intellectual property, whether the threat arises at home or from abroad.''

The CHIP unit is the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property division of the U.S. attorney's office for Northern California.

Vysochanskyy pleaded guilty before Ware in November to criminal copyright infringement, trafficking in counterfeit goods and engaging in monetary transactions using illegal profits.

Vysochanskyy admitted in the written plea agreement that he sold counterfeit software programs on eBay and on several other Web sites he operated between 2000 and 2003.

The pirated programs included titles owned by Adobe, Autodesk, Borland and Microsoft. He admitted that he engaged in much of the criminal activity from Ukraine and that his intended illegal profit was between $400,000 and $1 million.

Vysochanskyy was arrested in an ice cream parlor in Bangkok on May 20, 2004, after U.S. agents monitoring his e-mail traffic observed him make plans to travel from Ukraine to Thailand. The arrest was carried out by Thai police with the assistance of U.S. Secret Service and Postal Inspection Service agents.

After losing his bid to fight extradition in Thailand, he was extradited to San Jose in March 2004.

Vysochanskyy has been held in custody as a flight risk since then and will begin serving his sentence immediately, according to U.S. attorney's office spokesman Luke Macaulay.


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