Computer Crime Research Center


Ukrainian hacker Maxim Kovalchuk appeared in the court

Date: April 06, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Timofey Saytarly

ZAPOROZHYE, Ukraine (CCRC) - April 5, citizen of Ukraine, Maxim Kovalchuck appeared in regional court of San-Jose, California, the USA. As CCRC informed earlier , May 2003, a 25-year-old citizen of Ukraine was arrested in Thailand. The US intelligence tipped off Thailand police on his location. He is accused of selling pirate software to the amount of more than $3M.

If the court agrees with the prosecution, Maxim Kovalchuck will face up to 20 years of jail and $500 000 fine. From a usual Russian or Ukrainian citizen's point of view, Kovalchuck didn't commit anything special. He illegally copied and sold unlicensed software that could be bought at any marketplace in Moscow or Kiev. In Russia there is no heavy punishment for violation of copyright. According to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, a maximum punishment for this kind of crime is 5 years of imprisonment. But Russian courts do not go too far and usually impose fines and suspended sentences. In America computer piracy is a felony crime. That's why American special services arranged a real crackdown to catch Maxim Kovalchuk.

A 26-year-old Ternopol-born, Ukrainian was arrested in a Bangkok cafe, on the night of May 20, 2003. Thai policemen put handcuffs on his arms when the most famous Ukrainian hacker and his wife were about to try ice-cream they have just bought. «From the beginning of 2003 year agents have been monitoring all Kovalchuck's e-mails», said Assistant US Attorney Matthew Jacobs, Northern district, California. In April 2003 Kovalchuk booked rooms in two Thai hotels by e-mail. On the very same day that Thai police received our international warrant of arrest, he was immediately detained. After his marriage he took the surname of his wife and became Vysochanski-Kovalchuck in his foreign passport, but even this cunning trick did not help him to evade arrest. March 26, police officers escorted him to San-Francisco, the USA. Now he is behind bars in a regional jail situated close to the city.

«Prosecution asserts that since December 2000 till the moment of arrest, Mr. Kovalchuk has been selling counterfeit software through sites created by him:,, and, also through e-Bay auction», said Matthew Jacobs. He offered his clients production violating copyrights of Autodesk, Microsoft and Macromedia. Kovalchuk usually sold programs at essentially low prices unlike licensed product. Kovalchuk allegedly distributed compact disks with forged trading marks and logotypes plotted on them, with fake license agreements attached. He often sent CDs without any marking, instructions and documentation on the license agreement with a company manufacturer. Total price products sold exceeds $3M. He received money for unlicensed software through a sophisticated system of Internet account. Prosecution also thinks that he had some partners in different countries. They for certain fee received money from buyers of pirated software and then transferred it to Ukraine.

Attorney's Office accuses Kovalchuk of four counts: violating copyright, illegal software distribution, money laundering and illegal intrusion into computer network. The sentence is to be announced by Assistant United States Attorney's and Chief of Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit of the United States Attorney's Office of the USA Christopher Sonderby personally.
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2005-09-17 16:44:07 - Thank you very much! Mune
2005-09-02 08:31:18 - Good blog Anelia
2005-04-15 04:14:35 - Maxim is a good man!!! Now US will use... Uke
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