Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
California Man Sentenced for Role in Manufacturing and Selling Fake Mercedes-Benz Diagnostic Software
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that MARTIN VELLOZZI, age 58, of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, was sentenced today after previously pleading guilty to mail fraud for his role in creating and selling non-authentic Mercedes Benz diagnostic equipment
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan sentenced VELLOZZI to four years’ probation and a $6,000 fine.
According to court documents, VELLOZZI owned LMV Industries, a California-based company that, among other things, offered technical information and support for Mercedes-Benz automobiles. Between about 2005 and July 2012, VELLOZZI produced and sold, with the help of companies located in Durham, North Carolina and Harahan, Louisiana, unauthorized, non-authentic versions of the Mercedes-Benz Star Diagnostic System (SDS), a hand-held computer containing proprietary, confidential software. The SDS is used by mechanics to diagnose problems with and assure the safety of Mercedes-Benz vehicles employing electronic control systems. The companies in Durham, North Carolina and Harahan, Louisiana—Beckmann Technologies, Inc. and The Brinson Company, respectively – have previously pleaded guilty and been sentenced.
According to court documents, VELLOZZI, in conjunction with the other companies, obtained, modified, and duplicated the authentic SDS software so that it would operate on ordinary laptop computers without Mercedes-Benz’s authorization or license.
The “real” SDS sold for between $8,300 and $22,000 each, while VELLOZZI sold the fake SDS for around $6,000 each. In total, VELLOZZI sold approximately ninety-five non-authentic SDS.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Cyber Task Force of the FBI’s New Orleans Division in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorneys Jordan Ginsberg and Myles Ranier were in charge of the prosecution.