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US Court Sentences Chinese Cyberpirate to 12-Year Prison Term

A Chinese national convicted of wire fraud and criminal copyright infringement has been sentenced in a U.S. federal court to 12 years in prison.

U.S. authorities say the theft and piracy perpetrated by defendant Xiang Li, of Chendu, China included industrial-grade software and confidential data stolen from the internal server of an authorized U.S. contractor. Experts placed the value of the cybertheft at more than $100 million, and said Xiang will be deported to China after his release from prison.

Court documents identified Xiang as the operator of a website, Investigators said the site advertised thousands of pirated software titles at a fraction of their retail value.

A statement from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said Xiang engaged in more than 700 transactions between 2008 and 2011, in which he distributed stolen software in 28 states and 60 foreign countries.

Authorities say Xiang's customers included countries in the Middle East, employees of foreign governments and U.S. contractors holding security clearances. It said more than one-third of the unlawful purchases were made by individuals in the United States.