Feds have seized more than $4m in assets, and cash from an unnamed professional poker player from Oregon during a movie piracy investigation.
There was a time when you had to pay to watch Internet porn – the sheer incredulity of it. These days, we expect to switch on the laptop and gain access to 140,000 housewives from Hull, not just Hilda splattered across the staples of your Razzle magazine.
It’s the same with movies.
Ditto TV shows.
Yeah, Netflix does well, and you get access to Amazon Prime when you go for the ‘no postage’ deal, but generally, don’t most people Google a dodgy website, and stream for free?
It seems I am not entirely ‘with it.’
According to www.koin.com (a news station in Oregon), an unnamed 28-year-old professional poker player from Newport, Oregon, has had assets and cash seized by the Feds totalling more than $4m ($3,926,478.11 in cash/bank accounts, undisclosed cryptocurrency, and a $336,000 home purchased in Jan 2017).
The player remains unnamed because nobody has charged him or her with a crime with the solicitor for the defence issuing a statement stating:
“We don’t generally comment on a current case, but as a matter of principle the government should not grab a person’s assets and strip them of their resources unless and until proven guilty.”
Prosecutors said that several websites, including Noobroom.com, nobroom7.com, superchillin.com, Movietv.to and Sit2play.com had been receiving hundreds of thousands of payments from subscribers to download TV shows and movies illegally.
According to IRS Agent Keith Druffel, the accused earned an average of $400,000 per year in revenue during 2014 & 2015, more than $1m in 2016, more than $2.2m in 2017, and $500,000 per month in 2018. Homeland Security became aware of the scheme after PayPal contacted them over the size of the transactions coming through the payment processor. News reports suggest that the accused had more than $6.3 million deposited into a Stripes account (PayPal’s competitor).
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had previously tried to shut down the websites, but they kept popping up like childhood acne.
“Approximately, five days after the MPAA sent the cease-and-desist letter to Noobroom, the MPAA received an email to its undercover subscription at Noobroom… The email advised that user accounts had been moved to a new website, www.superchillin.com…”
The Feds tried to find out if the person responsible for the scheme had a ‘legitimate’ job that could explain the large deposits, but couldn’t find one.
Given the leading money earner in Oregon is Annie Duke, and her tally doesn’t come as far north as $5m, then it’s going to take some fast talking for the culprit to get out of this one.