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Business Owner Indicted in Telephone Software License Scheme

— August 25, 2023

The DOJ breaks up years-long pirated software operation.

Following his involvement in a telephone software license fraud scheme, a system administrator at Avaya has been indicted for his role in the conspiracy. The fraud scheme involved illegal, pirated licenses with a total value of $88 million being sold to co-conspirators over the course of several years. In the Western District of Oklahoma, Jason M. Hines pleaded guilty to engaging in a huge multinational plan to gain millions by created and selling bootlegged software. The scam was aimed at making money by selling stolen copies of the software. Eventually, the fraudsters sold software licenses with a combined retail value of more than $88 million as the deal lasted for some years.

According to records filed in the case, co-defendants Brad Pearce and Dusti Pearce plotted with Jason M. Hines to conduct wire fraud. The plan entailed the generation and subsequent sale of unauthorized Avaya Direct International (ADI) software licenses. These licenses were subsequently put to use to unlock the functionalities of a well-known telephone system that is used by thousands of businesses all over the world. Hines ran the company known as Direct Business Services International (DBSI), and he purchased ADI software license keys from Brad and Dusti Pearce using both his own identity and an alias known as Joe Brown.

Business Owner Indicted in Telephone Software License Scheme
Photo by Azamat Esenaliev from Pexels

Hines then resold these license keys to other resellers and end users all around the world. According to the allegations, Pearce, a long-time employee of Avaya’s customer support department, used his system administrator access to manufacture those keys without authority, making tens of thousands of copies of them that he then sold to Hines and other clients. According to the indictment, “Pearce, was a long-time customer service employee at the software firm (and) abused his sysadmin privileges to generate keys for IP Office software licenses.”

Hines was by far Pearces’ most important customer since he purchased more than 55% of the licenses that were stolen, and he had a substantial impact on the way the scam was run. Hines, on the other hand, was one of the most significant users of the ADI licensing system across the globe. Hence, Hines was able to pocket millions of dollars.

Jason M. Hines pleaded guilty to his involvement in a conspiracy to conduct wire fraud. Both Dusti Pearce and Brad Pearce were charged with money laundering and conspiracy to conduct money laundering as a result of their involvement in the scam. The United States has promised, as part of the plea deal, that it will not push for a sentence that is greater than five years in jail. The court has not yet decided when the sentence will be handed out. Following the terms of the plea deal, Hines is required to not only make full restitution to his victims but also to forfeit a money judgment of at least $2 million. A sentence will be decided by a judge in a federal district court after taking into consideration the United States Sentencing Guidelines and any other relevant statutory criteria.


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