Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs

Posted: November 30, 2012 by SJD in Coopergate, Prenda
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Prenda Law has been suing alleged porn pirates for almost two years. Little by little, the name of this law firm became known not only to those who were affected by its predatory practice, but also to a wider public. A narcissist John Steele never ran away from extra publicity, and the peak of his media exposure was a recent Forbes’ article “How Porn Copyright Lawyer John Steele Has Made A ‘Few Million Dollars’ Pursuing (Sometimes Innocent) ‘Porn Pirates’ “ by Kashmir Hill.

The rather long list of “People Most Hated By The Internet” — that guy who sued the Oatmeal, RIAA, Hunter Moore, Julia Allison, Violentacrez… — would be incomplete were it not to include John Steele. Steele is a lawyer who has partnered with the pornography industry to go after “pirates” who download their XXX films without paying for them. He has filed over 350 of these suits, and says he is currently suing approximately 20,000 people.

As a shakedown enterprise, Prenda is a complex organization and has many “clients” (I use quotes to emphasize the fact that, unlike a normal legal practice, it were not clients who shopped for legal representation and found Prenda Law, but the other way around: John Steele and others actively “hunted” for porn copyright holders in order to lure them into a lucrative semi-legal and obviously immoral schemes of monetizing copyright infringement of cheap pornography “works”).

While, just like other troll enterprises, Prenda uses real copyright holders like CP Productions, Sunlust Pictures etc., its masterminds, Paul Hansmeier, and Brett Gibbs were not as lucky as Keith Lipscomb, who has been able to milk Brigham Field and Colette Leah on a massive scale, giving them only a 10% cut of the settlement ransom money and keeping the rest. Prenda’s “real” clients wanted their “fair” (as if anything in in this “business” is fair) share, and infinitely greedy Prenda naturally always looked for ways to avoid sharing its loot.

First it was MCGIP, a mini-Righthaven, as Nicholas Ranallo, an attorney who defends victims of bittorent shakedown cases, nicely put it. Shortly after Nick’s article was published in TorrentFreak, MCGIP quietly ceased to exist. Although the idea of procuring copyrights for a sole purpose to mass-sue alleged bittorent file-sharers is obviously lucrative, doing it on the US sole right after the Righthaven fiasco was not wise.

So, our con artists went offshore. Two companies emerged out of the crooked minds of Paul Hansmeier and John Steele: Inguenity 13 and AF Holdings, both registered on St. Kitts and Nevis, a secrecy haven, where even attempting to uncover identities of business owners is a criminal offense.

Although it was obvious who the real owner of these companies was, it was really hard to proof due to the reasons mentioned above. Yet every criminal makes a fatal mistake in his career. And that mistake was involving the guy named Alan Cooper, a caretaker of John Steele’s inherited property in Minnesota. Steele asked him for some chores here and there, to answer the phone, etc., but little by little the crooks started using his name in official papers — as a manager for both offshore companies — and according to the letter embedded below, since Alan did not give them a permission to do so (and basically was not even aware of their actions), essentially committed an identity theft, lying under oath on multiple occasions, and forging Alan’s electronic signature (see the exhibits).

When Alan became aware of it, he lawyered up and filed the following letter in at least four of the fraudulent AF Holdings v. Doe cases (12-cv-02687, 12-cv-02688, 12-cv-02689, and 12-cv-01449). Read it. If it is not the beginning of Prenda’s end and does not prompt a massive federal investigation, I don’t know what to say…

To this date, AF Holdings filed 208 fraudulent copyright cases, Ingenuity 13 — 52.

“Alan Cooper” is not a rare name, and there is a small chance that another Alan Cooper exists and “serves” as a CEO of those two offshore companies, but given the circumstances, is anyone here willing to bet on it?

Update

12/4/2012
It took only five days for a troll Michael Dugas to react to Alan Cooper’s letter with a two-paragraph statement. Of course, the fraudster denied everything outright (what would you expect, “yes, we’ve been naughty, Your Honor”?):

I write to respond to the November 29, 2012 letter filed with the Court by Attorney Paul Godfread. In his letter, Attorney Godfread accuses AF Holdings LLC of being a sham corporation and fraudulently holding his client out as its CEO. Both of these accusations are categorically false.

Attorney Paul Godfread filed an identical letter in a similar case currently pending before the Honorable Judge Joan N. Erickson. In a text entry, the Court indicated it reviewed the letter and “will take no action on [Attorney Godfread’s] request.” Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court reach similar decision.

This phrase suggests how bad Mr. Dugas is as an attorney (professionalism is not a quality of the highest priority for running an extortion scam). He should know that Judge Erickson’s statement simply translates to “Godfread has to make a Rule 24 motion to intervene before the court can take an action one way or the other.” Nothing more, nothing less.

Dugas’s letter ends with unsubstantiated threats towards Mr. Cooper’s attorney Paul Goldfread:

By way of separate action, Plaintiff will address Attorney Godfread’s egregious behavior.

…which is funny because Mr. Goldfread is protected by the litigation privilege… but we all know that making unsubstantiated threats is the very core of Prenda’s business, so no surprises here.

If this is all that the crooks could come up with in their defense in five days, all I hear is a fan’s circular frequency steadily increase in premonition of something hitting the blades very soon.

1/4/2013
One of four cases where Alan Cooper’s “Letter to District Judge” was filed (12-cv-02688), was dismissed with prejudice. Usually such dismissal means settlement, but I’m skeptical in this case. First, it is strange to settle while there is a substantial probability that AF Holdings is a fake company, and the instant case is the instant fraud. Second, while allowing the discovery, Judge Graham established at least one safeguard, which I’m sure Prenda crooks did not cheerfully welcome:

Within one day of extending any offer to settle to John Doe or having any other contact with John Doe, Plaintiff shall disclose the offer or contact to the Court by filing under seal a copy of (1) any written communication or (2) a transcript of any oral communication. Plaintiff shall also send a courtesy copy of each sealed document to the Court’s chambers.

Media coverage
  • TechDirt: John Steele’s Property Caretaker Intervenes In Copyright Trolling Case, Alleging Identity Theft by Mike Masnick.
  • Related posts
  • 1/15/2013: Prenda’s motion to disqualify Judge Otis Write has been denied.
  • Comments
    1. Anonymous says:

      A Friday double-tap on Prenda. Thanks so much for the work and information.

    2. doh! says:

      What a week of riches it’s been! First Arizona, then Florida, now this??? ‘Tis the Season indeed! Watching this house of cards tumble has been a blast–if this keeps up Steele will be in prison before the end of the year…

    3. SJD says:

      Thanks to Raul for spotting and recapping this damning document.

    4. SaveADoeStarveATroll says:

      This is . . . I just don’t even know where to begin. Still need to read the letter, but this is incredible. SJD, you have really outdone yourself today. Two incredibly informative posts. My mind is reeling. I so wish that Judge Scriven had placed Steele under oath and now this on top of it all.

    5. Raul, thank you for finding this.

    6. Anonymous says:

      Interesting that Guava’s name is mixed up in the financial documents of the letter. I wonder if Cooper is the named officer of that company too.

    7. This is nuts says:

      Alright wait……

      I wish there was an easier way to expose these trolls to the District Attorney’s Office in every state possible. This is totally ridiculous.

      On 11/27/12 in the court document blow, Steele says the following:

      http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/114980947?access_key=key-16sw1p8g9i54hsktn3p

      “THE COURT: You’re an attorney with what law firm?
      MR. STEELE: I’m not an attorney with any law firm right now, but I have worked with Mr. Duffy in the past”
      On Page 20 he tells the Court that he no longer practices Law.

      Looking at the court document above dated 11/29/12
      Page 2
      “When investigating this matter and calling the number listed on the wefightpiracy.com website, I confirmed that Steele is currently “of Counsel” with Prenda Law.

      — Is he or isn’t he practicing law? They couldn’t even make a movie this good.

      • Raul says:

        Trolls exhale lies the way normal humans exhale CO2 but lies have a funny way of catching up. I just hope an ambitious AG or class action firm takes notice and acts on it.

    8. Anonymous says:

      It sounds like Mr. Cooper is still not certain that it is his identity Prenda has been using, but I wonder why he has a lawyer making filings in one AF Holdings case rather than reporting this to the police, FBI, or exploring whatever other remedies are provided by law enforcement. There are a whole lot of AF Holdings/Ingenuity 13 v. Doe(s) at this point so unless he plans to start a bulk mailing campaign this one letter isn’t going to put a dent in Steele’s caseload and misuse of Cooper’s name.

      I would love to know what prompted this action and what kind of trouble John Steele got him into. Basically, aside from hearing Steele’s bragging, there is really no reason for anyone to know about these cases unless they have been targeted. Yeah, there was a Forbes article about Steele and sometimes tech news sites cover these cases, but for a guy like Cooper there would be no reason for him to truly understand what Steele has been up to.

      Unless, of course, something went wrong. I wonder if one of the named cases got to the point where Cooper is at risk of being deposed, or if there has been a judgement against one of the plaintiffs and he’s on the hook (although he probably would have mentioned that and been a LOT more certain his identity was stolen if that was the case). Maybe he’s even been contacted by law enforcement agencies snooping around Prenda’s shenanigans (although again, he probably would have mentioned that).

      Great couple of days, in any case. John Steele in a prison cell is sounding like a very real possibility.

      • Sausages says:

        A criminal complaint may have been filed, active investigations are typically not divulged as public record as court cases are. They need to be filed, if none exist.

        I would imagine that

        1) He wants to limit his liability (if any) or any ongoing liability that may have already occurred
        2) He may want civil damages from John Steele for forging his name / impersonating him, which he would be more than justified for asking if this is true.

        • Sausages says:

          I’d also imagine that this entire thing is so bizarre that they want to see if it’s actually real. It sounds like a horrible made for TV drama or a scheme out of ‘The Sopranos’

          • Anonymous says:

            More like a scene taken straight out of Mission Impossible or Scooby Doo. You grab Alan Cooper’s face and pull, and it’s really John Steele underneath after the mask is thrown to the side. Actually, not a bad physical metaphor for identity theft :-)

            Then John Steele says: “….and I would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky kids!”

            Scooby Dooby Doooooooooooooo!

        • I suspect he wants civil damages. Steele is reportedly a millionaire (see Forbes article), and that alone makes him a target.

          • Sausages says:

            Yep I think that would be his angle, and he is justified to do so. That’s a hell of a pile of mud to drag someones name through and deserves compensation.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sure, going after people with assets is Troll 101, but this is hardly someone who jumped in front of Steele’s car and wants a cash settlement. The guy has a prior relationship with Steele and very coincidentally has the same name as the principal of a number of offshore front companies that Steele is using to run an international extortion, money laundering and tax evasion scam.

            If there is another Mr. Cooper running AF, Ingenuity, et al, then this Mr. Cooper certainly hit the jackpot. Or maybe some random Alan Cooper came from nowhere looking to cash in? That seems awfully unlikely considering the name has only been mentioned in a handful of posts here and in Prenda’s filings, but hardly known to the national media, so it’s not like Prenda has dishonored the name Alan Cooper for all time, basically only people following these cases and directly impacted would know the name, and very few of those.

            Given Prenda’s history I’m betting on drama.

      • The Tod says:

        Yesterday John Steele went to the court house and got his name legally changed to Alan Cooper. Now the signature is a spot on match! j/k

    9. Anonymous says:

      I think “Buffy” has a nice ring to it as a prison bitch name!

    10. I was deeply disappointed that SJD kept this as a secret, but elated when it was delivered to my inbox. [Wink Wink] I would sacrifice an appendage to be a fly on the wall, with eyes and ears, in Steele’s office after this one. Goodness! Identity Theft! And brazenly, in a courtroom setting! I’m totally speechless!

      Why oh why isn’t there a Hollywood Producer out there putting a movie together? You couldn’t possibly make this stuff up!

    11. Anonymous says:

      This is really good for a Law&Order episode and 60 minutes stuff. They are more memorable and re-ran nationwide.

    12. It is entirely possible (though not probable) that there was no wrongdoing here. If there is to be a criminal investigation, I think it would need to come after discovery shows that there is in fact an identity issue. Further, we need to keep in mind that the judges may not grant the motion to intervene, and even if they do, may not grant the motion for discovery by the intervenor. We may need to wait for a defendant (either Pro Se or with a willing attorney) to reach discovery and force Prenda’s hand to learn about what’s really going on behind the scenes. I do hope the judges grant the motions, but it’s important to realize there are several possible outcomes.

    13. sharp as a marble says:

      i am willing to bet that his name appears somewhere associated with guava and arte de oavaca….

    14. Anonymous says:

      The only show this resembles is American Greed, and I can’t wait for Prenda’s episode.

      Several cases brought by Prenda’s offshore clients include a copyright transfer agreement from the original copyright holder to AF, signed by an Alan Cooper, including this one (http://ia600409.us.archive.org/21/items/gov.uscourts.mnd.128794/gov.uscourts.mnd.128794.1.1.pdf). When these documents began to be filed we speculated about the identity of Alan Cooper and agreed he would be a good guy to track down and identify, but nobody came up with anything useful.

      Failing to address that signed agreement seems like a major oversight on Godfread’s part; it will be interesting to see if Cooper claims it’s not his signature or if there ends up being more to the story like he signed some stuff but of course didn’t know what it was or bother to ask for some reason. Obviously, if it is his signature but he claims it is a forgery, that will be a bombshell and things will be well on their way to thermonuclear. If someone feels motivated maybe we should compare the Alan Cooper signature to Steele’s, Gibbs’, Lutz’, Duffy’s, etc.

      Knowing Prenda’s history of fraud it is too much of a coincidence that Steele had a business relationship with this Alan Cooper and then an Alan Cooper happens to be a name associated with one of his shell corporations. The name may be common but it’s not John Smith so I seriously doubt AF’s guy is supposed to be a different Alan Cooper, although with AF shielded by Saint Kitts and Nevis, what is to stop Steele from claiming that there is in fact an Alan Cooper over there running AF but, neener-neener, you can’t see him?

      That said, I will not be surprised if there is a bit more to the story, even if Cooper’s letter makes it sound like he did not consent to or have knowledge of the use of his name in relation to the companies. It could be that he was offered payment or even paid to play this role, possibly after Steele misrepresented the arrangement, and is only now figuring out what he’s gotten himself into. It’s hard to believe he could be 100% ignorant, but then I think of the history of fraud and abuse perpetrated by Prenda, and why would this be beyond them? Godfread’s letter does make it sound like Steele and Duffy were NOT happy about this catching up with them, given their history it is VERY interesting that the letter implies there were immediately concerned and did not have some BS cover story ready, even just “Oh yeah, that Alan Cooper is in Saint Kitts and Nevis, move along there’s nothing to see here.”

      I wonder if there would be any value in SJD and other experienced Doe-defenders contacting Godfread and offering assistance with background information, etc. No idea if Godfread has any prior experience with Prenda but if both he and Cooper are learning about this scam for the first time the can definitely benefit from the resources here.

    15. None says:

      Subscribe

    16. Anonymous says:

      Very interesting to read about Steele and Duffy’s responses to Godfread’s inquiries regarding the identity of AF’s Alan Cooper.

      We don’t really know how Duffy was brought into the scam and what he was told up front. Obviously at this point he is well past being an innocent dupe, but I would hope that at the outset even if Prenda seemed like a shady deal he was not planning to get involved in an international conspiracy to commit extortion. Reading about Duffy’s reaction, telling Godfread not to contact him again, I can’t help but think that sounds like a guy who has just had his Oh Shit moment and realizes there is no backing out now. Telling another attorney not to contact him again is not exactly the best way to deflect suspicion, although who knows if that was even Duffy, it could just be Steele using his identity…

    17. Anonymous says:

      OMG. I Love IT!
      Thank you Mr Alan Cooper! I’m sending YOU my $3400 Prenda Law extortion payment in gold!!
      During last year’s holidays, Prenda Law et al was giving me those legal sounding letters and threatening phone calls.
      Now I wish the Prenda “Law” firm Asshats a very Merry 2012 F-ing Christmas: Brett Gibbs, John Steele, Paul Duffy, and Mark Lutz.
      Are your moms proud of you? Does your family ever Google your name? Do upstanding lawyers invite you to holiday dinners?
      May the Christmas Future ghost come visit you soon and show you the way.

      • Anonymous says:

        Honestly, Alan Cooper deserves respect. If he wasn’t *far* more honorable than the asshole paying him to shovel snow and watch his house, he surely could have become an extortionist with this info.

        • SJD says:

          Absolutely agree, and so far I mostly see respect in the comments. Some speculate about possible motives, and some of them are suggested to be less than noble, but I guess it’s just a lazily dragging brainstorm: nothing personal.

    18. sharp as a marble says:

      keep an eye out for a craigslist add asking for anyone named alan cooper so that they can try to tie this to someone else.

    19. Raul says:

      Now just waiting for the indignant response invoking the sanctity of the corporate privacy laws and sovereignity of St. Kitts/Nevis as well as attorney/client privilege.

      • Anonymous says:

        If I was into predictions, it’d go like this:

        1) Prenda says it doesn’t know anything about this Steele character.

        2) MN attorney is left hanging in the breeze, bar card floating with a fraudulent client and judges asking questions that he doesn’t know the answers to.

        3) Mark Lutz did it!!!!

        (Not really on the 3rd one, but I wouldn’t be that shocked.)

        What if Alan Cooper just exercised his authority on behalf of AF Holdings and dismissed everyone in every case nationwide?

      • That Anonymous Dude says:

        IRS Qualifying Intermediary reports should show any distributions b/t an offshore entity and Prenda (or any other U.S. entity). Also, although highly unlikely but possible (and I’d laugh my ass off if this happened), the federal government could invoke the PATROT Act and seize the assets. If the U.S. government comes in there and says “open your goddamn books,” St. Kitt’s/Nevis will do it, guaranteed. If they do not, there is a possibility that OFAC will sanction the shit out of whoever is responsible and the IRS will ramp up audits. FinCEN will issue another advisory if the place doesn’t play ball They DO NOT want to piss off the U.S. government. Look up FinCEN Advisory 26, then look up 26a…and then look at the time period between them. The corporate privacy laws mean shit when the U.S. government is crawling up their asses. St. Kitt’s/Nevis will bend over backwards to do whatever the U.S. government asks them to if this comes to a criminal investigation, Prenda will be fucked. If they don’t cave, the country, federation, whatever stands to lose A LOT of money and possibly be sanctioned by OFAC, have another “this country harbors money launderers” advisory issued, and the IRS will just be straight pissed.

        They should have a lot of fun invoking attorney-client privilege as well since the AML is VERY strict when it comes to money laundering and attorney-client privilege. Especially when the attorney IS the client.

    20. doecumb says:

      I web-searched Alan Cooper some months ago, when the name came up in troll documents. Due to the St. Kitts-Nevis offshoring, I thought this “Alan Cooper” was the retired British printer living in St. Kitts described here:

      http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/122335/Is-St-Kitts-the-next-millionaires-playground-

      I thought perhaps this St. Kitts retiree (Alan Cooper) might be supplementing income by acting as a go-between in some offshoring activity. It does reportedly sound that use without consent of the Minnesota Alan Cooper ‘s name happened.

      Mr. Steele has proven himself a villain by previous actions. He and others trolls are have used layers of secrecy and deception to hide the names and actions of plaintiff porn purveyors and agents. The previous SJD post today also highlights the (confused and) covert troll arrangements. These same greedy hidden trolls complain about Doe anonymity. If civil court troll plaintiffs are going to threaten the finances, welfare and standing of citizens, their identities and relations should be known clearly to the court before any further proceedings. The identity of accusers should be known long before beginning so-called discovery.

      http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com/2012/11/30/a-hearing-transcript-or-a-comedy-screenplay-a-must-read-for-those-who-think-about-settling/

      • that anonymous coward says:

        Alan Cooper Saunders Angel

        “The method by which funds are extracted from a limited company affects the total tax bill. Funds can be extracted by additional salary for Directors or alternatively, dividends to the Shareholders who may well be company Directors.

        If business property is owned by the Shareholders or Directors, they can charge rent to their company and this may be an appropriate way of extracting funds.”

        “Our personal income tax planning services include the provision of advice to individuals who are not domiciled in the UK. If they have assets or income from overseas, we can advise as to whether their affairs need to be reorganised or any other action is needed to manage their taxation liability.”

        http://www.tacsatax.co.uk/tax_saving_strategies.cfm

        Alan A Cooper FCA

        Alan founded the practice in 1959 and has several decades experience dealing with taxation and business advisory issues. He works in a consultancy role offering advice on all aspects of business affairs, in particular, property investment, taxation and pension matters.

        Dodgy accounting firm anyone?

        Or maybe this is closer…

        https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!msg/sknfus/bDtaQZcWrrg/NCo-k3dSWrUJ

        A St. Kitts mailing list, with an Alan Cooper…
        Which leads to… an email addy… that points to a dissovled company…

        http://company-director-check.co.uk/director/902041435

        and the domain points to an emoty webserver missing a doc on stkitts
        Far ‘n’ Wide, Leeward Cove appartment in St.Kitts

        Might be unrelated…

        Of course using someone he knows makes more sense but the dodgy tax advisor seems likely as well….

        • That Anonymous Dude says:

          Umm…lemme look into that. Ugh…IFRS. Fuck me hahaha. IFRS is so convoluted sometimes because I’m used to GAAP. I know absolutely NOTHING about taxation in the UK…but I’ll do my best and hopefully learn something in the process that I can use to further my career *toothy grin*

          • that anonymous coward says:

            I think the idea of turning settlement cash into dividends or rent payments changes the tax liability on the numbers does it not?
            The holding companies might be nothing more than money washing machines to launder the cash, and allow it to be pocketed at much lower rates and with much less hassle.

          • That Anonymous Dude says:

            OK St. Kitt’s/Nevis uses pure IFRS (as defined by the IASB) and its tax code is so simple that an idiot with a four-function calculator could calculate their tax liability. Flat corporate tax rate of 35% on income and capital gains. Yea income-generating expenses (i.e. rent expense for an operating lease) are tax deductible in St. Kitt’s/Nevis. So, these assclowns could’ve signed an operating lease for some property (under Mr. Cooper’s name…whiich would make the contract invalid if this all is true), and then charge the company rent, which the company would pay using settlement money. But all of this is tax deductible, you can’t just steal money from the company. I’m still trying to digest all of this…here’s two links about the tax code:

            http://www.lowtax.net/lowtax/html/stkitts_nevis/jnvdctx.html#income

            http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Caribbean/St-Kitts-and-Nevis/Taxes-and-Costs

            And a PwC link about St. Kitt’s/Nevis accounting/tax…

            http://www.pwc.com/us/en/issues/ifrs-reporting/country-adoption/country-details/country-details-new/stkitts-nevis.jhtml

            IAS 17 handles leases (WAY WAY bottom on iasplus.com) discusses disclosure of leases for lessor and lessee, both finance aka capital and operating leases…oh and I HATE HATE HATE accounting for leases but not as much as pensions.
            “for operating leases, the lease payments should be recognised as an expense in the income statement over the lease term on a straight-line basis, unless another systematic basis is more representative of the time pattern of the user’s benefit [IAS 17.33] ”

            Also…

            http://www.lowtax.net/lowtax/html/stkitts_nevis/jnvcos.html#llc

            “Nevis LLCs are formed under the Nevis Limited Liability Company Ordinance, 1995, whose features include:
            No corporate tax, income tax, withholding tax, stamp tax, asset tax, exchange controls or other fees or taxes are levied on assets or income originating outside of Nevis;”

            This is because the “Act” assumes that they are taxed in the U.S. (or Germany or wherever they are earned). I’m STILL trying to figure out how (or if) they’re smuggling this shit outta the U.S. without paying taxes on it. I CANNOT figure out how it’s possible for them to evade taxes on millions of dollars…the IRS would catch wind of that so quickly. Or whether it’s something a lot more complicated and devious.

            GRRRRR!!!!!

    21. doecumb says:

      For a big picture view of offshoring, check out Nick Shaxson’s book and website on offshoring.

      Large parts of economies and some of the largest financial interests in the world are offshoring participants. Porn purveyor copyright trolling may bring unwanted attention to offshoring. Then copyright trolls may have to answer to these large business interests on a different front from court proceedings.

    22. Anonymous says:

      Am I remembering incorrectly or have several of the posts from someone appearing to be Steele originated in MN? If so that’s pretty interesting because this establishes the connection. I am not aware of any other information that had previously connected Steele to that state, don’t believe he had an office there, lived there, practiced there, etc.

      Very interesting that Mr. Cooper says Steele bragged about his copyright trolling scam and we also have posts from Steele from MN. Maybe when he was visiting that property on the weekends he was drinking, posting and bragging to Mr. Cooper. If we could find the address of Steele’s property and compare the local ISPs to the possibly-Steele IPs collected by SJD and DTD, we might be able to fit a few more pieces of that puzzle together.

      • SJD says:

        Ha! Steele is from Minnesota. I believe (but not sure) that his first wife and son live there (don’t want to bother them anyway). Read Nick Ranallo’s article about some earlier phases of the scam.

        • That Anonymous Dude says:

          Well we all know he went to school at UM-Twin Cities. Didn’t know he has an ex-wife and son…wonder if the family court judge(s) bumped up the alimony and child support payments when Steele started raking in the millions with his scams?

          • Ron Mexico says:

            such a fuckin embarassment to my alma mater

          • That Anonymous Dude says:

            I was accepted there and know quite a few alumni seeing as how I’m from Madison, WI originally. None of them attorneys though. My ex is a resident at the hospital up there.

    23. SJD says:

      A dialog inspired by the Forbes’ article.

      —  This is John Steele listening
      —  O hai John, this is Lori Swanson, Minnesota’s Attorney General. How are you doing, buddy?
      —  Not bad, hun.
      —  Listen, what’s up with that guy, Alan Cooper – he is claiming that you used his signature and stuff without permission?
      —  But… but.. piracy!
      —  I see: you have it under control. Have a good one, John. Bye.

    24. that anonymous coward says:

      Oh my… one wonders about these things…

      So who wants to start trolling Craigslist looking for Pretenda ads looking for people named Alan Cooper to do some “work” for them.

      I think someone needs to freeze some assets before they try transferring them out of the reach of the courts….

    25. NotImpressedByTrolls says:

      What impact would this have on anyone receiving settlement letters from Arte de Oaxaca? Any at all? Will it impact Prenda Law, or just the cases that (allegedly) misrepresented the CEO/manager?

      All of this is interesting and entertaining, but my knowledge of law ends at protecting the company I work for from losing computer data assets, and giving over the evidence I can compile if anything is seen leaving that shouldn’t be.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, I have no idea if it will affect it. But in the exhibits it specifically mentions guava. And guava=lightspeed=arte de oaxaca. So it may very well affect those cases.

      • That Anonymous Dude says:

        This ID theft shit w/ respect to Guava/Arte de Oaxaca? Maybe. Will this affect Prenda? Hell yes. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chicago FBI Field Office is investigating them as I type this. We won’t hear about it until they make arrests but I’m pretty sure Prenda has been on the FBI’s radar for quite some time. This is straight up criminal if AF Holdings and Ingenuity13 were created by Steele for for the specific purpose of suing people and on top of that, using someone else’s (stolen) identity as the “CEO” of the company. They’ve lied in multiple court documents with regard to AF and Ingenuity’s ownership structure if this document is true. I mean, this could REALLY fuck them if Alan Cooper decides to plug away at this and even if he doesn’t, this letter in and of itself is enough to catch the eye of several defense attorneys who WILL use it against Duffy and Steele.

        • Anonymous says:

          The only reason I think it might impact it directly is that in one of the last exhibits (I can’t access it right now) I saw Guava specifically mentioned and circled.

          • That Anonymous Dude says:

            Oh, yeah, thats That’s one of those State of Minnesota subpoenas that Dugas issued to an out-of-state third-party (ISP). An attorney pointed it out to the judge. The subpoenas are invalid for several reasons, one being that it’s not a Minnesota case. That and you cannot issue a Minnesota subpoena to a third-party defendant in another state. It violates Illinois’ Rules of Civil Procedure. This is a giant sham, I’m surprised any ISPs even complied. If I were an attorney for one of these ISPs I would’ve told Dugas and Duffy to shove the state subpoenas up their asses or use them as toilet paper. Looks like CenturyLink is fighting Guava in Minnesota State Court. I pulled the case. Check this out…

            http://pa.courts.state.mn.us/CaseDetail.aspx?CaseID=1615554847

      • CTVic says:

        Don’t expect much. I would be surprised if everything just goes tits-up and just got dismissed en-masse just because somebody shined a flashlight up Steele/Prenda’s bunghole.

        In fact, I would expect that if they have your name and number the calls, letters and threats may get even more vicious and frequent. The people running this scam know that it can’t go on indefinitely, and have been planning for the end. Now ask yourself this: when the boat’s sinking, does the dirty captain shrug his shoulders & issue apologies, or does he try to load up his personal life raft with as much gold as he can carry?

        The thing to keep in mind is that no matter how vicious they get, they still have no teeth. Read SJD’s prior article carefully. When things get real, they’re just a bunch of bumbling idiots playing a massive game of “Who’s on first?”.

        • NotImpressedByTrolls says:

          Oh, I already know. I will be looking for an attorney if I need one. I was just curious. Everything I have been finding online has been delightful reading, and made me smile almost every time.

    26. Raul says:

      @SJD-This Godfread letter has been filed in all 9 pending AF Holdings lawsuits and the 1 Ingenuity 13 lawsuit which are all pending before M.J. Graham in MND.

    27. Irritated Troll Hater says:

      WOW…. If this is the real deal…. If Steele used Cooper’s name without permission…… Prenda is f*********************************************d!!!! These 2 Prenda stories back to back, is a wonderful early X-Mas gift to us all.

    28. The Tod says:

      My favorite part was when Mr. Steele told United States Distric Judge Mary S. Scriven on November 27, 2012 that “I’m not an attorney with any law firm…” yet he keeps showing up in Prenda Law, Inc. case. But yet if you want to reach John Steele you have to call Prenda Law and leave a message? Interesting? I cant figure it out. I am sure Judge Scriven would love to read this letter, maybe she can figure it out for me. Hummm…..

      • That Anonymous Dude says:

        Yeah it’s funny. Maybe someone should send her a letter containing Steele’s pro hac vice applications for Prenda cases, or dockets.

        “I’m not an attorney for Prenda Law, but in my pro hac vice applications and sworn declarations, I clearly state that my address is just in the exact same building and the exact same office suite as Prenda Law Inc.’s office in Chicago…but I went ahead and changed the suite number on the docket, I’m on the floor above Paul…err, Mr. Duffy. I also have an account on wefightpiracy.com, Prenda’s website, but I’m not an attorney with Prenda…nope.”
        PHV application: http://ia700705.us.archive.org/3/items/gov.uscourts.ilsd.58824/gov.uscourts.ilsd.58824.20.0.pdf

        Right from wefightpiracy.com: “…principal office at 161 North Clark Street, Suite 3200, Chicago, Illinois 60601..”

        Duffy’s motion for leave for PHV in AF Holdings v. Does 1-1058 in DCD which includes a sworn declaration by Steele that his office is in the same suite as Duffy’s…and the docket still references him to Prenda.

        http://ia700806.us.archive.org/25/items/gov.uscourts.dcd.152214/gov.uscourts.dcd.152214.32.0.pdf

    29. UnrulyPrawn says:

      None of this is going anywhere, and the cases will survive. Eels are slippery for a reason, and they always manage to escape. That guy who got his identity stolen…..He will sing a different tune soon enough……Money money money. he will be bought off just like DFantalis. The answer to all of this is to simply stick with your original plan: Don’t settle, ignore the letters, and if they take you to court then fight. If you settle and accept their pitance then you allow this to continue and you are no saint.

    30. [...] Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs [...]

    31. Anonymous says:

      It appears that the judge in at least one of the AF Holdings cases doesn’t seem to care about the alleged identity theft:

      “Attorney Paul Godfread filed an identical letter in a similar case currently pending before the
      Honorable Judge Joan N. Erickson.3 In a text entry, the Court indicated it reviewed the letter and
      ‘will take no action on [Attorney Godfread’s] request.'”

      from http://ia600409.us.archive.org/21/items/gov.uscourts.mnd.128794/gov.uscourts.mnd.128794.12.0.pdf

    32. Raul says:

      Today Troll Dugas filed a letter categorically denying the contents of the Godfread letter without explaining the extraordinary coincidences. http://ia600409.us.archive.org/21/items/gov.uscourts.mnd.128794/gov.uscourts.mnd.128794.12.0.pdf If that’s all they have, I’m surprised it took this long.

    33. [...] infringement lawsuit brought by a firm called AF Holdings. A Minnesota man named Alan Cooper says that AF Holdings is really a shell company set up by Prenda. And Cooper says they’ve been [...]

    34. [...] infringement lawsuit brought by a firm called AF Holdings. A Minnesota man named Alan Cooper says that AF Holdings is really a shell company set up by Prenda. And Cooper says they’ve been [...]

    35. [...] infringement lawsuit brought by a firm called AF Holdings. A Minnesota man named Alan Cooper says that AF Holdings is really a shell company set up by Prenda. And Cooper says they’ve been [...]

    36. [...] infringement lawsuit brought by a firm called AF Holdings. A Minnesota man named Alan Cooper says that AF Holdings is really a shell company set up by Prenda. And Cooper says they’ve been [...]

    37. [...] that transcript and turn it into a movie, and now, apparently, we may have Act II. Ars Technica and Fight Copyright Trolls both have the odd story of a man named Alan Cooper, who just happens to be employed by John [...]

    38. [...] Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs [...]

    39. [...] Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs [...]

    40. [...] Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs [...]

    41. [...] Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs [...]

    42. [...] Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs [...]

    43. [...] a Minnesota resident, former John Steele’s caretaker Alan Cooper, who, through his counsel, articulated a grave concern that his name might be used as a CEO of two Prenda’s offshore shell corporations, Ingenuity 13 [...]

    44. [...] Copyright troll Prenda Law is accused of using a stolen identity for their offshore plaintiffs &laqu… on Big news: Judge Wright has granted a discovery aimed at solving the Alan Cooper mystery (and, potentially, uncovering a fraud of epic proportions) [...]

    45. [...] began to use his name, his signature and to list him as manager of companies such as AF Holdings.11 In short, he accuses them of identity [...]

    46. 89 Year Old Defender says:

      Re: Today’s Update – 01/04/2012

      I am definitely with you on this. I don’t believe anyone settled. Here, the plaintiff gets to say “See, your honor, they were guilty, and they paid us to boot!” It just doesn’t sound right to me, either.

      • SJD says:

        Haha: I just re-read the previous update and chuckled when saw Dugas’s threat:

        By way of separate action, Plaintiff will address Attorney Godfread’s egregious behavior.

        So dismissal was that “separate action” as I see. Right.

    47. [...] occasion when a cheerful idiot Sam Trenchi initiated a couple of AF Holdings cases, as if another Alan Cooper was magically [...]

    48. [...] On 1/7/2013 Gibbs replied, further embarrassing himself. The reply was so amusing that it has prompted the articles on ArsTechnica and TechDirt today. In what amounts to be a definition of “irony,” Gibbs questioned the existence of Pietz’s client (as if the plaintiff, Ingenuity 13, is not a brazen fake): [...]

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