Computer piracy and counterfeiting is being used as a means of funding other kinds of criminal activity, data from the European Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa) revealed. In 80% of raids carried out by Elspa, it found evidence of crimes ranging from fraud and drug running to prostitution and child pornography.
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Terry Anslow, chief investigator at the crime unit of Elspa said that those who may be tempted to indulge in software piracy will be investigated, and if found guilty, will receive a criminal record as well as a fine or imprisonment and this could be detrimental to employment prospects.
He warned of the potential loss to business, and emphasised Elspa's increased efforts to crack down on the crime. "It is estimated that last year £3 billion was lost by games producers and retailers. Small retailers are particularly hard hit as they cannot compete with the pirates. For these reasons Elspa's crime unit, working with police and trading standards, has significantly increased its activities."