Saturday, August 31, 2019

Eight Defendants Charged with Running Two of the Largest Illegal Streaming Services in U.S.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging eight Las Vegas residents with conspiring to violate federal criminal copyright law by running two of the largest unauthorized streaming services in the United States, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars by television program and motion picture copyright owners.

According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly ran an entity called Jetflicks, an online, subscription-based service headquartered in Las Vegas that permitted users to stream and, at times, download copyrighted TV programs without the permission of the relevant copyright owners.

The defendants reproduced tens of thousands of copyrighted TV episodes without authorization, and distributed the infringing programs to tens of thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the United States. At one point, Jetflicks claimed to have more than 183,200 different TV episodes. One of the defendants, Polo, left Jetflicks and created a competing site based in Las Vegas called iStreamItAll (ISIA) that at one point claimed to have 115,849 different television episodes and 10,511 individual movies. Like Jetflicks, ISIA offered content for a regular subscription fee to viewers around the United States, and ISIA publicly asserted that it had more content than Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon Prime. The two services were not only available to subscribers over the internet but specifically designed to work on many different types of devices, platforms, and software including numerous varieties of computer operating systems, smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, video game consoles, digital media players, set-top boxes and web browsers.

According to the indictment, Jetflicks allegedly obtained infringing TV programs from pirate websites around the world—including some of the globe’s biggest torrent and Usenet sites specializing in infringing content such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG and Torrentz—using various automated computer scripts, often providing episodes to subscribers the day after the shows originally aired on TV. Specifically, the defendants allegedly used sophisticated computer code to scour global pirate sites for new illegal content to download, process and store the shows, and then make those episodes available on servers in the United States and Canada to Jetflicks subscribers for streaming and/or downloading.

The defendants are: Kristopher Lee Dallmann, 36; Darryl Julius Polo, aka “djppimp”, 36; Douglas M. Courson, 59; Felipe Garcia, 37; Jared Edward Jaurequi aka “Jared Edwards”, 38; Peter H. Huber, 61; Yoany Vaillant, aka “Yoany Vaillant Fajardo”, 38; and Luis Angel Villarino, 40.

According to the indictment, Polo was allegedly part of the computer programming team that built Jetflicks but later left and started ISIA, a competing service based in Las Vegas that offered not only television programs but movies. Polo allegedly used many of the same automated tools that Jetflicks employed to locate, download, process, and store illegal content, and then quickly make those TV programs and movies available on servers in Canada to ISIA subscribers for streaming and/or downloading. In fact, some of the movies offered by ISIA were not yet available for authorized sale, download, or viewing outside a movie theater.

All eight defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and, if convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The criminal copyright infringement by reproduction or distribution and criminal copyright infringement by public performance charges, with which Dallmann and Polo are charged, each carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.  The criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution offenses, with which Polo is charged, carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. And, each of the charged money laundering offense carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Timothy R. Slater, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander P. Berrang and Senior Counsel Matthew A. Lamberti of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-253.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Lorain man indicted for accessing his employer’s computer system after learning he would be fired and shutting down the web site, blocking access to email

A Lorain man was indicted in federal court for accessing his employer’s computer system after learning he would be fired and shutting down the web site, blocking access to email and taking other unauthorized actions.

Austyn Keaton, 28, was charged with one count of damaging protected computers.

According to the indictment:

Keaton was the sole information technology employee for a company located in Avon Lake. Keaton gained access to emails of the company’s finance director and other employees. He learned the company planned to hire an outside vendor to take over IT operations from Keaton.

Keaton was scheduled to meet with the vendor on February 25, 2019, in which the vendor was to ask Keaton to transfer access to the company’s IT systems.

On the same day, Keaton accessed the finance director’s email, in which he learned the company planned to offer Keaton a severance package and terminate his employment.

Keaton then took steps to lock the company’s employees out of their email, take its web site offline, block the company’s employees from accessing the company’s customer relationship management system, and other unauthorized actions.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Elyria Police Department and Avon Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Riedl and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kern.

An indictment is only an allegation and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Deputy's Bulletproof Vest 'Saved His Life' in Traffic-Stop Shooting
Houston Chronicle, (08/21/2019), Julian Gill and Michelle Iracheta
A Harris County Precinct 7 deputy constable survived a traffic stop shooting thanks to his ballistic-resistant vest and his flashlight, both of which deflected bullets. The deputy took a hit directly to his chest when he approached a vehicle after making the traffic stop and the driver opened fire.
Link to Article

New Wichita Police Patrol: No Guns, No Badges; But Golf Carts, Eyes and Ears
Wichita Eagle, (08/21/2019), Dion Lefler
The 11 concerned citizens who make up the Wichita Police Department's Volunteers in Policing patrol aren't just volunteers riding around in golf carts: they have attended the city's Citizens Police Academy and received training on observation, communication, personal safety, and golf cart operation and maintenance. The volunteers patrol the Arkansas River Walkway, hand out fliers on electric scooter safety and provide information to homeless individuals about available services, and immediately report any suspicious behavior encountered.
Link to Article

'Safe Place' Program Launched To Report Hate Crimes: SJ Police
Campbell Patch, (08/26/2019), California Wire Services
The police department in San Jose, Calif., has begun partnering with local businesses to provide safe places for victims to report hate crimes. All employees at participating businesses receive mandatory training in how to take a report and to act as liaison with the agency, all while the victims remain safely in the establishment. Each partner business will display a program decal in its window.
Link to Article