Prenda’s fraudulent activity continues unabated: new harassing calls, ransom letters etc.

Posted: January 23, 2013 by SJD in Prenda
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Mark Lutz

Recently I heard too many reports that Steele Hansmeier / Prenda Law / Anti-Piracy Law Group has intensified its harassing calls. And the crook on the other end of the phone line is no one else but previously “retired” (or rather fired — after he foolishly disobeyed his master’s order to move to Las Vegas) Mark Lutz.

These calls are beyond fraud.

  • The caller does not identify himself, which is a serious violation of the FDCPA (yes, some lawyers think that Prenda’s phone campaign can be categorized as a debt collection — albeit there is no debt). I’m sure it is afoul of other regulations.
  • Mark Lutz claims that he calls “from Prenda Law,” a nearly defunct law firm that is not in good standing with the state of Illinois: the beast is changing its skin these days, becoming “Anti-Piracy Law Group¹.”
  • Mark Lutz refers to dismissed lawsuits as if they are still alive, mentioning such “plaintiffs” as Hard Drive Productions, Boy Racer, etc. Especially egregious lie is Hard Drive Productions involvement. Its owner Paul Pilcher is probably soiling his pants every morning, as memories start to kick in after the wet slumbers recede. Memories of the countersuits, citizen activity informing his neighbors and schools about the illegal porn production in his home, and, on top of it, the current FBI investigation of the underage pornography allegations. Will anyone in his shoes even think of initiating a new lawsuit as Mark Lutz promises? Add the fact that Prenda dismissed all the “real” plaintiff cases, leaving only ones that involve questionable, most likely fake (and in any case fraudulent) entities AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13, and Quad International.

     

    When I hear about these threats, I imagine a gang of gas station robbers who just had a successful heist and took all the cash from the cash register, but the ultimate greed made them crawl on the unwashed floor to collect stray coins from under-the-shelf filth.

 

Here is a call that was recorded last week:

Ohai Mark, I hear your voice has changed a little bit (compared to fatter days). Was it a result of a special treatment you received in the Mexican jail? Regardless, if you say “copyright infringement lawsuit” tens of thousands times, it becomes a sound signature that is nearly impossible to forge.

Also, I thought you stated under oath “I do not work for Prenda Law.” I’m sure that Judge Scriven will love to learn that you have committed a perjury. I know, I know: you will say that you worked for Prenda before, then retired, and now you are back to work for the ticket John Steele bough to get you out of hell, that you did not work for Prenda at the end of November, when the hearings took place. Whatever, we will see if your hogwash is capable of convincing anyone.

In the meantime, while Mark is still with dying “Prenda Law,” ransom letters that use a new letterhead have started to arrive:

 

Although this letter is slightly less brazen than its previous reincarnations, it does not pass the anti-bullshit test. As Raul has observed after the first glance,

  • Who are the “engineers”?
  • What are “activities violating computer intercept statutes”?, Note the plural: I thought Prenda was only using the CFAA.
  • The letter incorrectly implies that the recipient is a defendant in a filed lawsuit “arising from these activities.”

 

 

Again, on the surface:

  • “Client’s secured website” is unreasonably vague.
  • Claims are “very serious,” my ass.
  • “Severe monetary damages” is also unreasonably vague.
  • How does Prenda/Anti-Piracy Law Group know a lawsuit like this will cost over 100K to litigate through a jury verdict?
  • The letter poses two questions but does not really answer them.
Update 1

1/25/2013

  • According to comments and personal emails, people receive a lot of such calls, majority (if not all) refers to dismissed cases.
  • There is a couple of reports that while the voice undoubtedly belongs to Mark Lutz, the caller identifies himself (when he identifies himself at all) as Jeff Schultz. I’m investigating this claim and will followup.
  • Some calls reportedly come from 703-272-2013, there is a set of interesting reports about this number, suggesting that the Prenda spoofs the caller ID.
Update 2

02/01/2013

Here is another recorded message. This time the caller introduces himself as “Jeff Schultz,” yet people who have been harassed for a long time by Lutz confirmed that the voice belongs to this putz. Compare yourself:

 

02/15/2013

…and if you still think that Jeff Schultz is not Mark Lutz (of the other way around), here is another recording, this time the caller introduces himself as Mark Lutz:

 

I also heard a story when Prenda’s Harassment officer called himself “Mark” and “Jeff” during the same conversation. Are all the crooks that stupid?

 


¹ While “Prenda” was a rather neutral term (please don’t start the “Pretenda” joke), ironically the criminal enterprise has managed to embed the deceit as a modus operandi in its very name: one simply cannot be anti- its own turf. It’s like if a plumber would declare that he is anti-sewage. Or a lion would declare that he is anti-meat. John Steele does not even hide the fact that he loves the status quo regarding the online infringement: his (now temporarily defunct) Twitter account had a tagline “Just a small town boy who thanks Bram Cohen every $ingle day.”

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Comments
  1. One of the 1495 says:

    Received a call identical to the one above.

  2. That Anonymous Dude says:

    It’s Lutz, without a doubt, and he conveniently does not ID himself which is BAAAAAAAAAAADDD. You can file an FDCPA lawsuit against Prenda right now. I’ve heard that asshole’s voice so many times I could pick him out in a football stadium.

  3. TrollOffaCliff says:

    Seems like a pretty desperate ploy to me. To be so blatant in chasing down outdated, dismissed cases is just begging for trouble.

  4. JohnDoevHDP says:

    I’d like to add my personal confirmation that it is indeed Lutz making these calls. That or they hired somebody to do a damn fine impersonation of him.

  5. Raul says:

    @Prenda – there’s an attorney in MIED who today is obviously unaware of this blog and DTD’s with its wealth of info and documents, by tomorrow he will be made aware. I predict some grim developements ahead for scumbags.

    • That Anonymous Dude says:

      What I’m wondering is how the fuck can he not have ANY idea about this and DTD’s blog. It just shows how we’re dealing with amateurs.

      • that anonymous coward says:

        You don’t Google them, you look at the cash number written on the envelope and write your name on the dotted line.
        There is a sucker born every minute, and there are lots of lawyers with no clients in need of cash for little to no effort.

  6. Anonymous says:

    i have recieved a letter like above. i’ve also recieved a phone call. it was a woman on the phone who wanted to talk to me about my making a settlement, I told her I thought the whole thing was a scam and that I would not give her any information. she said she’d see me in court. now what?

    • That Anonymous Dude says:

      Oh I can get ahold of her voice too :) I would just screen calls from now on if I were you. I’ve gotten so paranoid after what happened with me and than was a LONG time ago (in troll years). I still get blocked calls and shit. If you do accidentally answer, hang up. DO NOT talk to them. They’ll use everything against you (and they’ll record it, which if you live in IL is a felony…like they give a shit).

      This recording doesn’t bode well for Lutz…the only thing is that he did not identify himself (which is illegal unto itself) so recordings cannot be taken to Judge Scriven and say “Hey, here’s Mark Lutz saying he works for Prenda Law…after he stated while under oath that he doesn’t work for Prenda”

    • pissed Off Doe says:

      From what troll? Prenda? I say just move on with your life. If they are calling on your cell just gen an app to block numbers.. if you read the blog and see where clowns of prenda currently stand, there will not be any lawsuits from them for a while.

      • Anonymous says:

        If anyone uses a google voice number, set up a group with one contact for them, put all of their known numbers in that one contact (see below), set the greeting for that group to the system standard, and have that group forward to no phones so it just goes to voicemail. Solves 2 problems, 1) your phone doesn’t even ring, and 2) if they leave a message, you have an mp3 of it for your records.

        Known numbers (if anyone has any new ones, I’d love to know to add them to my list)
        305-748-2102
        800-380-0840
        312-880-9160
        305-397-8558
        702-445-6064

      • whatnow? says:

        we were advised by our ISP provider to consult an attorney. what ever happened to innocent untile proven guilty?

        • whatnow? says:

          we meet with an attorney monday. this whole thing is a nightmare. either way it will end up costing me and I really didn’t do anything wrong. I use email, I used facebook. I have no idea who guava llc or spencer merkel are. All the fraud training I get at work is what made my radar tingle that this was a fraud. apparently not entirely. it is unethical yes. but its a civil suit so i guess the burden of proof is on me not them. it really sucks.

        • That Anonymous Dude says:

          You’re guilty until you pay them money. You’d NEVER be taken to trial unless you literally said “I did it” with “it” being the exact act they accused you of, and you live in a one-party state that allows them to record it. If the party calling is in a two-party consent state (such as IL or FL, where Prenda conducts most of its activities) then they have to ask permission or state that the call is being recorded otherwise not only will the recording be inadmissible, in IL, they’ll be charged with felony eavesdropping. Pretty much the same in FL but IL’s laws are downright brutal. Hypothetically (no more like I’m 99% sure they’re doing it), if Lutz (or whoever) is calling from Florida and not notifying recipients, it’s a third degree felony in Florida and federal crime as well.

        • whatnow? says:

          i didn’t give her the chance to say much to me expect that she was calling about the letter i received and her client was interested in pursuing a settlement with me. I had told her straight up i thought it was a fraud or scam and I wasn’t going to give her any information over the phone. honestly i thought at the time if it was serious i would have recieved a certified letter or even a supeona not a form letter and a phone call. guess i was wrong. now its going to cost me attorney fees and who knows how much more.

        • That Anonymous Dude says:

          They’d have to be fucking stupid to file an individual lawsuit against you, then again Paul Pilcher (the idiot who runs HDP) is fucking stupid as he is behind all of these bogus Guava suits. “We’ll drop the suit if you agree to be a defendant in a sham lawsuit.” HDP got taken to school by Steven Yuen, then one of its contractors got popped in an FBI sting for kiddie porn, and now this Guava shit…they’d have to be STUPID to go forward with anything right now.

          Unless you incriminate yourself or piss them off (like telling them to go fuck themselves), they won’t do a damn thing to you which is why I always let the calls go to voicemail. If I accidentally answered, I hung up immediately, NEVER spoke to them. There are extraordinary circumstances, but I’m not sure why they decide to sue some people individually and leave others alone. Sounds like they haven’t even sent you another settlement letter which means that the call is just intimidation. You should’ve received two letters at first, one saying “You did this, give us money” and another saying “You’ve been ignoring us….” I got like 10 for my case heh. Like 8 settlement letters and a couple “You’ve been ignoring us….”

        • whatnow? says:

          i ony got one letter and one phone call. told the lady when she called i wasn’t giving them any information on the phone and if this was real or they were serious i’d have had a certified letter or supeona by now. she said she’d see me in court. so far since then i haven’t heard a thing from them. ive been doing my research and gathering information on the case to give to our attorney. my hope is he will make it go away by filing something. even if its just that we have an attorney of record. that might be enough from what ive read to stop it at least for now.

        • whatnow? says:

          just received another letter today. this on from Guava LLC from washington Dc. still signed by Paul duffy. it is encouraging me to contact them with in 21 days to talk about a settlement. this letter actually has an IP address, a date wht the alleged activity occurred and who my ISP provider is. my attorney on Monday advised me to wait it out since nothing has been filed in my home state. guess its a matter of time.

  7. JD says:

    Does Erin Russell work as a shield or she’s only here to fight them?

    • That Anonymous Dude says:

      Both, AFAIK. If you just want a shield you can just retain any attorney. Then, IF they serve you, which is slim to none chance, retain Erin (or another troll fighter).

  8. CTVic says:

    It’s really a shame that this unethical behavior of collections/settlement negotiation is the least visible to the judges who control the floodgates to the behavior. This is the ugly underbelly of the beast, that victims of the scam are subject to. The letters and calls and threats and demands that just go on and on, unabated are the bread and butter of these trollawyers.
    It would be interesting if the judges in the position to allow or deny early discovery were exposed to this shakedown racket. Maybe a job for an ambitious Anon? Insert a few cleverly chosen names and numbers into Mr. Lutz’s call list?

  9. errorr says:

    I received a voicemail yesterday almost exactly like this except instead of late last year he said October. As I law student I am interested in how to proceed since it seems clearly in violation of sooooo many rules I don’t know where to start.

    • SJD says:

      Start somewhere :) Your input will be appreciated by many.

    • that anonymous coward says:

      Pull out the book and please start ticking off the statues they are in violation of.
      See because them we can bang up a cute little form letter for every Doe they contact to send to the proper authorities about these activities. Oh and if they are referencing a dismissed case, in my mind it would be fair to forward it on to the court where the case was heard and dismissed. I am sure the Judge would LOVE to know they are pretending there is still a case running…

      • That Anonymous Dude says:

        Facciola? He’s in hibernation. I expect him to crawl out of his hibernation hole sometime in July.

    • lkj says:

      As a law student you have the time and freedom to do useful things like write a law review article on 1) all the ways Prenda et al. have violated FDCPA; 2) the legal requirements for joinder and severance in so-called “swarm” cases; 3) the legal basis for Rule 11 motions for an attorney’s suing on behalf of sham plaintiffs; etc. etc. Once you graduate and pass the Bar you’ll be very busy, perhaps too busy to do extensive legal research. If you would please write an article it will be appreciated in the troll-defense community, and it will look good on your resume.

    • Anonymous says:

      Got a couple of calls yesterday…the case I was involved in was voluntarily dismissed twice. This feels like a last minute Prenda cash grab.

      • That Anonymous Dude says:

        You were voluntarily dismissed twice for the same thing? The case is res judicata, aka you’re fucking untouchable. You’ve been effectively found not guilty or dismissed with prejudice, and I’m not sure if they’re even supposed to be making contact with you.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, it was for the same case. I assume they’re calling everyone in their shakedown database and trying to get cash before they kill Prenda, leave the country, or go to jail..not sure which one will come first.

        • That Anonymous Dude says:

          Same judge in both cases? Actually, fuck it. Even if you don’t, if you’ve got recordings and an official record of incoming calls from your provider, send that shit to both judges along with info on the cases. If I was res judicata, I’d actually answer the phone and RIP INTO Lutz. That’s me, I have an anger problem, and if I’m untouchable in that case, then I’m gonna unload. Not suggesting you do it because God knows what they’d cook up. They’ve already shown that they’re more than willing to do literally anything to make a buck, including manufacturing lawsuits.

  10. [...] Prenda’s fraudulent activity continues unabated: new harassing calls, ransom letters etc. [...]

  11. [...] Prenda’s fraudulent activity continues unabated: new harassing calls, ransom letters etc. [...]

  12. [...] Prenda’s fraudulent activity continues unabated: new harassing calls, ransom letters etc. [...]

  13. [...] to the call recordings here. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom, where Lutz fraudulently calls himself Jeff Schultz. [...]

  14. [...] sending ransom letters, and its paralegal Mark Lutz (who sometimes lies identifying himself as “Jeff Schultz”) has been extensively harassing Nathan over the [...]

  15. violetlass says:

    Yep got one of those letters, and a non legal size court record copy. They called us, left a message, then sent the same thing again, October 18, 2012 our IP was seen blah blah blah, something about using bittorrent and piratebay. blah blah blah. If they really wanted us, the county sheriffs would of brought us the subpoena like they have before. Got a email back from a senator and a bell went of in my head that said “If they obtained our IP from our phone company, wouldn’t our phone company have sent us a letter saying the gave it to them?” But here is a expcert from

    The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986:
    The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) was enacted to regulate the process by which the government is able to obtain stored wire or electronic communications from a communications provider. This would include e-mails, subscriber account information, phone activity, etc. Depending on the customer’s privacy interest implicated, the act requires the government to obtain a subpoena, court order, or warrant before it can compel the service provider to disclose the information sought. The act also governs how Title III wiretaps are obtained, as well as when and what a service provider is permitted to voluntarily disclose to the government.

    So did they get IP address illegally, I think so. We would of been told when they subpoena the phone company. I think a RED FLAG would go up and they would of disconnected us for using DSL wrongfully.

    I have more on the ECPA if you would like me to foward the letter it might help to find a way to fight these trolls.

  16. [...] and questionable tactics, if not outright fraud, forgery, and identity theft. Until now, Prenda has gotten away with quite a lot of these kinds of tactics because it simply abandons its lawsuits, via a voluntary [...]

  17. [...] and subsequently sending nasty letters (like the one embedded below), as well as making harassing calls to wrestle purported “infringers” and “hackers” into paying a couple of grands to make this [...]

  18. “Our client’s engineers observed your Internet Protocol (‘IP’) trading in films…”

    Really? Where do your engineers get off looking at my protocols? Also, since when did I start owning IP? Can I also own TCP? Maybe you could craft a demand letter to google for me for infringing on my IP in IP.

    Seriously Prenda? You can’t even f-ing proofread the first sentence in your demand letter?

  19. [...] alternate history, during the last two years a paralegal Mark Lutz (or, sometimes his alter-DID-ego Jeff Schultz) made thousands of calls with the signature line “This is Prenda Law calling,” and who listed [...]

  20. […] This guy harassed tens of thousands over the phone during the past two years. Mark Colins Lutz, Prenda’s paralegal, used to call victims telling them that they had broken the law — either the copyright law or the CFAA. Sometimes he used his real name, sometimes he did not identify himself, sometimes used a bogus name Jeff Schultz. […]

  21. […] This guy harassed tens of thousands over the phone during the past two years. Mark Colins Lutz, Prenda’s paralegal, used to call victims telling them that they had broken the law — either the copyright law or the CFAA. Sometimes he used his real name, sometimes he did not identify himself, sometimes used a bogus name Jeff Schultz. […]

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