Sheriff’s deputies raided a computer software counterfeiting factory in an investigation of a ring that cost Microsoft Corp. $3.3 million in sales, authorities said Tuesday.
Law officers seized 20,000 software packages, computers used to copy software, packaging envelopes, manuals and certificates of authenticity Monday at an unoccupied home in Alhambra, said Deputy Mark Bailey.
The raid was the latest in a six-month software counterfeiting investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
It was the first time a counterfeit group using a Microsoft certificate of authenticity had been arrested, said Microsoft spokeswoman Erin Carney. The company, based in Redmond, Wash., is the largest maker of personal computer software.
Last Friday, four men were arrested and raids at seven Los Angeles County locations turned up a variety of duplication materials and another factory used to manufacture software, said Bailey.
“Inside was sufficient machinery to manufacture and package the final product,” the deputy said. “The business location was a printing company that produced 83,000 manuals of instruction.”
Also seized were 200 completed counterfeit software packages, printing plates for instruction manuals, $64,000 cash, three handguns and an assault rifle, Bailey said. The seized software was worth $2 million, he said.
Chuw Ping Kwan, 25, of Alhambra; Gin Ping Kwan, 26, of Alhambra; Kim Fee Chean, 24, of Los Angeles; and Kim Fong Chean, 26, of Temple City were booked for investigation of conspiracy to commit counterfeiting. Bail was set at $1 million each.
On Feb. 15, undercover detectives sold Kim Fee Chean 5,000 holograms, which are three-dimensional, quarter-sized certificates of authenticity, authorities said.
Two days later, detectives sold him a second set of 5,000 holograms and arrested him and companion Kim Fong Chean for alleged conspiracy to commit counterfeiting.