U.S. Govt. Hammers Down Movie Piracy Racket, Seize Millions in Cryptos
The United States Government has finally hammered down a movie and TV show piracy racket, seizing millions of dollars in cryptos and cash. The illegal platform run by Talon White, a U.S resident, has allegedly been in operation since 2013, according to a TorrentFreak report on May 14, 2019.
The PayPal Tip-Off
The U.S government has filed a lawsuit against Talon White, the operator of Noobrom.com, Noobroom7.com and other illegal video streaming sites and the former is now seeking forfeiture of around $4 million dollars worth of bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and cash seized on the basis that White got involved in a “conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and money laundering.
Reportedly, the investigation began in 2013 when PayPal, a centralized payments platform reported the financial activities of the subscription-based movie and TV streaming platforms to the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The HSI, in turn, reported the sites to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which purportedly carried out an investigation, alleging that both Noobroom and Noobroom7 distributed content in breach of its members’ copyrights.
In July 2014, the MPAA reportedly issued a cease-and-desist order to Noobroom. However, instead of ending the illegal operations, the operators of Noobroom went ahead to launch another platform called SuperChillin, moving the accounts of its users (including a covert account of the MPAA) to the new site, in a bid to cover its tracks.
Talon White Nabbed
Through the movies it downloaded from the new site (SuperChillin), the MPAA managed to link an IP address and an associated email address to Talon White, the main operator of the platform. Two more movie streaming sites: movietv.co and Sit2Play.com, were linked to White and the HSI subsequently executed a search and seizure operation in White’s residence, after obtaining a court warrant.
Interestingly, the investigators also discovered that the subscribers of the site made payments via PayPal or Stripe accounts controlled by White, who in turn transfers the funds into his bank accounts.
Too Much Money
Notably, it is alleged that 78,985 payments of $9.99 ($789,060) were sent into the Stripe account of the movie subscription sites between October 2015 and December 2016. Another 7,611 payments of $25.49 (totalling $ 194,004.39) and 5,348 payments of $44.99 (amounting to $240,606.52) gives us a grand total of $1,223, 671.24.
Special Agent of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Keith Druffel stated:
“Further analysis of transactions on White’s Stripe account dated between October 2017 and September 2018 revealed a further 396,843 payments of between $9.99 and $44.99 to a value of $6,373,816.57,”
During HSI’s search operation, it was alleged that millions of dollars worth of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and ether were seized from White’s Coinbase account. And thousands of dollars were also seized from his four JPMorgan Chase Bank accounts.
Specifically, the law enforcement agents seized 31.53 BTC ($254,964), 1,022.39 ether ($211,972), bitcoin cash 5.74 ($2,252), $4 million from his four bank accounts, $32,921 in cash and $1,940.77 in his Stripe account.
“I believe that White and others known and unknown conspired to commit copyright infringement and money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1957 and 2319 from at least 2013 through November 2018,”
District Judge Anna J. Brown has now issued an order to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), mandating to hold the seized funds until further notice.