Tag Archives: USDOJ

Movie Pirate Pleads Guilty, Faces Five Years in Prison, Forfeits Millions of Dollars

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-pirate-pleads-guilty-faces-five-years-in-jail-forfeits-millions-of-dollars-191126/

In October 2013, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents received information from PayPal concerning two ‘pirate’ websites, Noobroom.com and Noobroom7.com.

For a fee, the sites allowed subscribers to stream movies and TV shows, which was of particular interest to the MPAA. Their investigation concluded that the platforms distributed works in breach of their members’ copyrights.

In July the following year, the MPAA sent a cease-and-desist notice to Noobroom but within days, the site shifted its users to a new site, SuperChillin.com. The MPAA determined that the platforms – plus another pair named as Movietv.co and SitPlay.com – were operated by Oregon resident Talon White.

With White under suspicion of copyright and money laundering offenses, last November a magistrate judge in Oregon approved a search and seizure warrant targeting millions in cash and cryptocurrency.

On Monday, the Department of Justice revealed that after netting more than $8 million from his piracy activities, Talon had pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal copyright infringement and tax evasion.

According to the Department of Justice, White underreported his income by more than $4.4 million from 2013 through 2017, resulting in a willful underpayment of $1.9 million in taxes.

The penalties faced by White are severe. On top of a potential five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release on each of the two charges, the financial implications are already massive.

White has entered into a plea agreement which will see him forfeit $3.9 million seized from his bank accounts, $35,000 in cash, cryptocurrency worth around $424,000, plus his home in Oregon, currently valued at $415,000.

On top, he must pay $669,557 in restitution to the MPAA and $3,392,708 in restitution, which includes penalties and interest, to the IRS.

White will be sentenced on February 21, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge Ann L. Aiken. In the meantime, however, the case raises additional interest in at least two other directions.

A case revealed at the weekend in New Zealand appears to have some similarities with White’s. Both involve a pirate movie site in the US, both received a PayPal referral for suspicious activity, and both resulted in the seizure of large volumes of cash and cryptocurrency.

Finally, the involvement of the IRS in a criminal copyright infringement case raises questions about what lies ahead for Gears Reloaded founder Omar Carrasquillo, aka YouTube OMI IN A HELLCAT.

Last week, he reported that he’d been raided by several FBI officers and a single IRS agent who seized “pretty much everything”, including millions of dollars, a huge car collection, and a large collection of jewelry. Ever since he’s been posting videos on the topic, one of which included a brief glimpse of a purported search a seizure warrant issued by a court in Pennsylvania.

Carrasquillo insists that what he did in respect of IPTV isn’t a crime in the United States but concedes that he didn’t pay his taxes in a timely manner and he’s learned his lesson. He hopes that the money seized will cover his back taxes but still expects to spend some time in prison.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

USDOJ Highlights Threat of Increasingly Sophisticated Pirate Services

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/usdoj-highlights-threat-of-increasingly-sophisticated-pirate-services/

From its relatively basic and humble roots back in the 1990s, Internet-based distribution of copyright-infringing content underwent a renaissance at the turn of the century.

Peer-to-peer technologies, including the now omnipresent BitTorrent protocol, brought file-sharing to the masses and with it a huge problem for the content industries.

Twenty years on – a lifetime in technology – BitTorrent still attracts hundreds of millions of users but the immediacy of streaming, including movies, TV series, live TV and sports, is now considered one of the greatest threats facing copyright holders and distribution platforms.

This week, in remarks made at the Thirteenth Law Enforcement and Industry Meeting on Intellectual Property Enforcement in Washington, DC, the Department of Justice weighed in on these dramatic changes in the piracy landscape over the past decade.

“Copyright pirates have moved from peddling individual copies of movies, music, and software on street corners or offering individual downloads online, to operating technologically advanced, multi-national streaming services that generate millions of dollars in illicit profits,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski.

While online streaming of pirated content is nothing new, in more recent years there has been a noticeable shift in the professionalism of those providing and distributing content, with highly organized unlicensed IPTV providers and ‘pirate’ CDN operations presenting new challenges to entertainment companies and law enforcement alike.

Piracy-enabled set-top boxes, which in many cases draw their content from the type of services referenced by Benczkowski, remain high on the agenda. The Assistant Attorney General also referenced the recent charges against eight Las Vegas residents who allegedly ran two of the largest platforms in the country.

“One of the services – known as Jetflicks – allegedly obtained infringing television programs by using sophisticated computer scripts to scour pirate websites around the world and collect the television shows,” Benczkowski said.

“It then made the programming available for paying Jetflicks subscribers to stream and download, often just one day after the original episodes aired. The scheme, as charged, resulted in the loss of millions of dollars by television program and motion picture copyright owners.” 

This leveraging of technology to provide content quickly and at scale is a concern for the USDOJ, which indicates it will continue to pursue “high-impact cases” to deter IP crime. However, Benczkowski noted that changes to the law or creative legal strategies may be required to reel in the more elusive offenders.

“Existing laws do not always address the conduct that IP criminals are engaging in today. Or, put differently, smart criminals may seek to avoid serious repercussions by developing new technologies or security measures to skirt legal authorities,” he said.

“We need to be creative and cooperative in thinking about possible solutions, whether through looking at additional charging strategies, or considering legislative amendments.”

What those strategies might be is open to question but Benczkowski believes law enforcement will “never” be in a position to solve the IP crime problem through prosecution alone.

Nevertheless, through cooperation and the enhancement of relationships with overseas law enforcement entities to target the “worst actors”, he believes that it’s possible to significantly reduce the profits available to those engaged in criminal copyright infringement.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.