Employees of a Melville company who committed "high-tech theft" by installing unlicensed software on clients' computers have pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
The business, Constructure Technologies LLC, also agreed to pay a $60,000 fine and maintain a compliance and ethics program under a deferred prosecution agreement, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District.
Prosecutors identified the individual defendants as Michael Calabria, 49, of Manorville, and Joseph Keegan, 46, of Merrick — who were principals of the company — along with Casey Silver, 36, of Stamford, Connecticut. All three admitted to the misdemeanor-level crime Wednesday in federal court in Central Islip and now face up to a year behind bars and a fine.
Calabria was the company president, Keegan was the chief technology officer and Silver was a project manager, according to authorities.
"It's an unfortunate situation that was caused by, to our knowledge, some prior or former employees who had an ax to grind," Keegan's attorney, Brian Kennedy, said in an interview Thursday.
Attorney Don Savatta, who represented Silver, also called the case "unfortunate," adding: "We're happy to have it behind us." Calabria's attorney didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors said the defendants used "cracking" programs or "key generators" to let Constructure activate copies of the software without paying the software companies a licensing fee.
From 2011 to 2018, Constructure billed customers for the "cracked" software after installing it at small and medium-sized businesses that included clients in Hicksville, Mineola and Manhattan, authorities said Thursday.
"Constructure and the individual defendants admit to committing a high-tech theft by installing unlicensed software they didn't pay for, and cheating software companies of license fees they were owed," said acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Jacquelyn Kasulis in a statement.
Users paying for security software "should be able to rely on the legitimacy of it," said FBI New York field office Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll. He added that Calabria, Keegan and Silver "only saw the profit they could make if they gamed the system."
Authorities said Constructure cheated software companies that included VMware out of at least $40,000.