Otherwise, they would take them to court for their “illegal” downloads, where their targets would be revealed as pr0n watchers.
Of course, the downloads were not illegal, they were uploaded by lawyers and their agents.
Well, the HMFIC of this scheme just got sentenced to 14 years in prison.
It could not happen to a more deserving asshole:
A federal judge in Minneapolis has sentenced Paul Hansmeier to 14 years in prison for an elaborate fraud scheme that involved uploading pornographic videos to file-sharing networks and then threatening to sue people who downloaded them.
“It is almost incalculable how much your abuse of trust has harmed the administration of justice,” said Judge Joan Ericksen at a Friday sentencing hearing.
We’ve been covering the antics of Hansmeier and his business partner John Steele for many years. Way back in 2012, we started reporting on a law firm called Prenda Law that was filing lawsuits against people for sharing pornographic films online. Prenda wasn’t the only law firm filing these kinds of lawsuits, but Prenda came up with a novel way of ginning up more business: uploading the films itself, including some that were produced by Prenda associates.
A key part of the firm’s strategy was to seek settlements of a few thousand dollars. The demanded sums were small enough that it cost less to settle the lawsuits than fight them. Prosecutors say that the men made more than $6 million from copyright settlements between 2010 and 2013.
As the extent of the alleged fraud became apparent, judges began referring the pair to federal prosecutors. In 2016, the two men were arrested and charged with federal fraud, perjury, and money laundering.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune summarized the prosecutors’ case: “When challenged by judges around the country, Hansmeier blamed other lawyers who were hired to file lawsuits on his behalf, lied to the courts about his own involvement, and ordered the destruction of evidence.”
This is a very well deserved ass whupping.