Computer charity founder jailed

Computer charity founder jailed

Colin Bayes, director of PCs For Kids, last year accused Microsoft of almost forcing the closure of the Victorian-based charity. In an ironic twist, Bayes has single-handedly brought down the organisation himself after embezzling more than $40,000 from the charity.

Bayes, the founder of the computer recycling charity, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment after admitting he embezzled more than $42,000 from the non-profit organisation.

Bayes, who has 51 prior convictions in four states, pleaded guilty to five offences including obtaining property by deception, theft and obtaining financial advantage by deception.

Last year Bayes garnered overwhelming international support in condemning Microsoft for threatening legal action against the charity for software piracy, almost bringing about its closure. The software giant had slapped PCs for Kids with a copyright infringement notice for hard-loading copies of Windows 3.11, Windows 95 and Word onto donated computers that were being refurbished and distributed to underprivileged children.

At the time, Bayes accused Microsoft of "shattering the dreams of our young disadvantaged community. I've told Microsoft very clearly that what it has done is physically put this not-for-profit charity on its knees," he told ARN.

Microsoft corporate attorney Vanessa Hutley attempted to justify the vendor's stance at the time, saying that if companies truly supported PCs for Kids, they would provide them with the licensed software alongside the donated hardware.

Microsoft dropped the threat of legal action, entering into talks with the charity as soon as the incident was picked up by international wires. In a knee-jerk reaction to the global criticism caused by the incident, Microsoft agreed to donate $65,000 worth of software and PCs to local Victorian community organisations, but refused to make direct donations to PCs For Kids.

Microsoft was unwilling to comment on the charges against Colin Bayes or the company's previous dealings with the charity.

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