back to article eBay software faker jailed for ten months

A UK eBay scammer has been jailed for flogging £46,000 of counterfeit software on the world's favourite online tat bazaar. John Mark Humphries, 41, of West Ewell, Surrey, operated a home CD burning factory to produce counterfeit Microsoft, Symantec, and Sage software over two and a half years. He was sentenced to 10 months …


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  1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    10 months

    Now, I'm not condoning what this guy has done in any way shape or form, but what kind of legal system do we have in this country when a 'petty' crime (by most people's standards anyway) gets you 10 months, and a serial sex offender of children can look forward to community service because 'the prisons are full'.

    Is there some special prison for victimless* crimes that isn't full enough or what?

    *I use the term here to differentate crimes that have victims, but they only find out after the fact and have come to no serious harm; and crimes that have victims and they know about it immediately, 'cause they were like, actual victims, you know?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Sub heading...

    "A++ sentence! Would use judge again!"

    lol ... nice one!

  3. Mike

    And fined...?

    How much?

    There's no mention of it but surely he should be fined the 46k he's fraudulently obtained, else what's the deterrent here?

    Scam 46k, go to jail for under a year, come out, repeat as required. At this rate he's on about 23k a year, plus gets most of his expenses paid (heat, light, water, food, etc) for nearly half of that time while he's in clink!

    I've seen a few of these now; someone scams a fortune and gets a lenient custodial sentence with no financial penalty, when it should be the other way round - a 'fraud tax' say or deduction from benefits applied to the perp for x years to get the money back and stop clogging the prison system with harmless criminals, thus leaving space for the violent buggers who shouldn't be on the streets to see out their full term.

    Or is that too obvious?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is that 46K he turned over, or 46K that the software was nominally worth?

    If he made 46K 10 months isn't too bad, might have a bash myself.

  5. M Brown


    Class tagline. First one that made me audibly laugh in ages. This reminds me of that kid selling things on eBay that he didn't evan have.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Counterfeit software?

    Wow. You'd think it would be easier to just make counterfeit manufacturer CDs containing illegal copies, than to spend the time creating 'counterfeit software'.

    Come to that, WTF is 'fake software'?

  7. Danny Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    10 months? Our local paper has just run an artcle on a 19 year old who was given 5 points and a fine of £120 when he KILLED a cyclist when he run over them. No prison and not even BANNED from driving.

    On top of that £46000 is not a particularly large amount of money to warrant 10 months in the clink.

    Paris, cause she knows a thing or two about avoiding jail.

  8. Robert Moore


    I would think an appropriate fine would be double what they estimate he made off the scam.

    I think a couple of cases like this well reported in the media would bring this tipe of scam to a screeching halt.

  9. Steve Browne

    Great sub title

    Gave a great chuckle to the end of my day.

    Fake software? well, it was Microsoft and Symantec products, nuff said.

  10. Matt Semper
    Thumb Up

    Can't really be bothered to commit the crime

    but if someone wants to offer me £46,000 for me to spend 10 months in a minimum security prison then I think I'd seriously consider that offer.

  11. John Band

    Sentencing myths

    1) It is not the case that a serial sex offender of children would get community service, unless there are monumentally weird and unusual mitigating factors: starting point is a *long* jail sentence. Whenever the tabloids get excised by an EVIL SEX OFFENDER getting off without jail, it inevitably turns out they're referring to either a) a guy who drunkenly groped a teenage girl or b) a pathetic geek who downloaded Internet pr0n.

    2) The car driver who killed a cyclist was fined and given points because he was found not to have caused death by dangerous driving. If you are convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, you go to jail for a long time (well, long IMO - 3-8 years). If you aren't, then you don't. Or do you think every unlucky driver ought to serve proper chokey?

  12. Tony Paulazzo

    Bad boys

    I like the fact he got rumbled by an agency doing a routine sweep, rather than the thousands of honest buyers he duped*, wonder if they rounded all of them up for buying illegal software - ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law - unless you're BT & Phorm of course.

    * Wonder if they thought the legal version was just too ridiculously expensive, especially considering you don't OWN the software, just pay for the right to use it.

    I don't condone piracy but I do condone fleecing the customer off as often and as expensively as they fall for it. /irony.

    Photoshop CS3 £993.23

    MS Office 2007 £383.52

    Vista Ultimate £362.53 (tho OEM versions everywhere for about a ton (£100))

  13. paul fox


    There are plenty of Open Source alternatives.

  14. Tony Rogers
    Gates Halo

    Time Bandits

    The 10 months will turn out to be 5 months or less with the current system.

    Whilst away at "college" , he will doubtless learn the error of his ways and not get caught out so easily again.

    It was obviously his lack of guidance that caused his detection.

    Mr Gates has vast legal resources to ensure that his use of others efforts are not so well punished. "Give them $5 million out of the till Steve".

  15. Scott Mckenzie

    Hmm, Prison...

    ...clearly all of you have spent time inside as you're all professing how easy it is. Even a minimum security prison isn't like high school, but why listen to someone who worked in the Probation Service and visited a few when you have no knowledge and base fact upon it!

    /you may all continue with the Daily Mail

  16. Gordon


    Sorry, Scott, but prison IS too easy. I've worked inside them quite a number of times. I wouldn't want to swap my comfortable flat, personal freedom and privacy for one. But people who live in crappy estates and survive on benefits and minor crime might well think about it.

    The reason our "Victorian" prisons were so damned unpleasant was to mean that A) We could run enough to lock up all the arse-pains and 2) they wouldn't want to go there in the first place, let alone go back.

  17. Barry White

    Notice it wasn't Ebay that caught him??

    Ebay didn't catch him..?? 46,000 pounds of transactions means a nice comission for them and maybe Paypal too.

    Were they charged as accomplices or got off scott free again?

    Internet auction sites wilfully accept the billions in profits but take absolutely no liability for what is presented for sale.

    They can and should be made to do so instead of harbouring their sacred scam artist cash cows.

    The perpetrator charged in this case was not the only link in the chain.

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