Unscrupulous distributors, beware. There are consequences to your actions, as was so forcefully exhibited Thursday with the announcement that security vendor Symantec will receive $18.6 million in damages from two distributors selling counterfeit software throughout North America.

The larger judgment of $9.7 million was rewarded to Symantec by the United States District Court in San Jose. The court ruled that New Jersey-based V-Micro Inc. owed Symantec in conjunction with a lawsuit Symantec brought against the firm in April 2008. Symantec received nearly all of the $10 million claim that it demanded when filing the suit.

Also announced was an $8.9 million judgment awarded by the United States District Court in Los Angeles, which ruled against Connecticut-based Higher Model Computer, LLC. The court awarded nearly $1 million more than the $8 million initially asked for by Symantec when it filed suit in October 2007.

Joy Carton, senior director of the Symantec legal department said that the size of the judgments reflects the scope of the illegal activity perpetrated by these distributors.

“In many cases, people turn over their financial information to disreputable businesses in exchange for products that don’t work and can make their computers more vulnerable to virus attacks and other online threats,” Carton said in a statement. “Counterfeit software also is more likely to contain spyware, which after installation can steal personal and confidential information from someone’s computer without their knowledge.”