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Last Updated: Friday, 22 July, 2005, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
Student's role in 250m swindle
A student who took part in a 250m computer software swindle has been given a community punishment order.

Alexandros Samras, 33, from Loughborough, Leics, took orders from customers for counterfeit software and channelled money overseas.

Southwark Crown Court was told IBM contacted a private security firm when the scam came to light.

The Athens-based partner in crime of Samras - Evangelos Volotas - is still awaiting trial in a Greek court.

Undercover agent

Samras, of Knipton Drive, admitted four counts of copyright infringement and one of assisting an offender to retain the benefit of criminal conduct.

Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, said: "IBM had become aware that counterfeit copies of highly sophisticated computer software were being distributed and sold on the pirate software market.

"These sales were causing IBM losses of 250m."

The court was told an undercover agent infiltrated the group running the scam and at first dealt with Volotas.

'Pernicious trade'

Eventually, he was put in touch with Samras, who was studying electronic engineering at Loughborough University.

In the coming months he not only took the undercover agent's orders but allowed his bank account to be used to send clients' cash to Greece.

Passing sentence Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said it was clear Samras had found himself "on the edge of a pernicious trade" that had caused IBM massive revenue losses.

He said Samras would normally have faced a "substantial prison sentence".

But he handed down a 140-hour community punishment order because of his guilty plea and other circumstances surrounding the case.


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