An Owensboro man, federal officials say, is now serving time for being involved in an international software pirating case.
This is a case that spans all the way from China to Russia to Owensboro. Dr. Wronald Best, the chief scientist for a company in Owensboro has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for purchasing over $2 million worth of computer software that was stolen by criminals overseas.
It was while working as chief scientist at MPD in Owensboro that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency says Dr. Best betrayed the country by purchasing unauthorized copies of computer software from international cyber thieves.
Federal officials say, in all, Best purchased over 60 pirated applications from sources in China and Russia. Authorities say he paid $6,000 for the illegal copies. If purchased legally, those applications are worth over $2 million.
What makes this case even more concerning, according to authorities, is Best used that pirated software to design parts for the U.S. military. Federal agents say Best admitted to using the software while designing components used in Patriot missiles, Blackhawk helicopters, and probably most alarming, Marine One, the helicopter used by the president.
Federal authorities say Best bought the illegal software online through a website that's based in China known as Crack 99. Investigators say, in 2008 and 2009, Best was one of the site's top customers.
Federal agents say Best also used his position as chief scientist to obtain trial licenses for software that he then provided to cyber-criminals. They say he also provided international software pirates with instructions on how to disable the security devices in certain software.
Authorities say as of now they have no reason to believe this has endangered Marine One in any way.
Best will serve one year in federal prison, pay a $6,000 fine, and will serve three years of "supervised release." A Chinese national has also been sentenced for his involvement in the case.
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