- Find a poor guy or girl who was “caught” either breaking copyright law by sharing copyrighted material (pornography) using Bittorent protocol, or accessing a pornography paysite using stolen credentials. And by “caught” I don’t mean that his or her IP address was simply recorded by a purported forensic expert, such as Peter Hansmeier and his unregistered, illegitimate company “6881 Forensics,” or Steve “Lightspeed” Jones’ “Arcadia Security” with its few scripts that parse server logs and produce mind-bogging amount of false positives (link NSFW). I mean solid evidence, namely admission of the wrongdoing.
- Threaten him/her with insanely huge fines and expensive lawsuit that he or she has no means to afford.
- Offer a deal: this poor chap plays a defendant in a state court lawsuit filed on behalf of a fake company and agrees to sign his consent to subpoena multiple ISPs to unmask thousands of Internet users, whose IP addresses may or may not have been recorded by the fake “experts” mentioned above. As a payback, this “defendant “will not pay anything and will be quietly dismissed later. Judges in underfunded county courts are happy when defendant and plaintiff agree on something, and endorse such agreements, sometimes without reading them.
- Get the personal information of those thousands, many (probably the majority) of whom are innocent of any wrongdoing, and shake them down using the widely known protocols of harassment, baseless threats and lies.
While these “agreed orders” raised many eyebrows (including those of Judge Tailor), up to this point we did not have a smoking gun, and judges don’t like conspiracy theories, no matter how plausible they are.
This affidavit has surfaced during today’s hearing on motions to quash. John Steele appeared in person, probably hoping to save the case by dismissing those who filed motions, as he did in Chicago. No luck. Judge Tanya Bransford initially dismissed the complaint on the wrong jurisdiction grounds, but ultimately took the issue under advisement with the caveat that she will probably dismiss the complaint (and I hope will refer the fraudsters to the Bar and AG).
The house of cards built by the crooks (Paul and Peter Hansmeier, John Steele, Paul Duffy, Brett Gibbs, Michael Dugas) suddenly collapsed, implicating both the known scam artists and “defense” attorneys — Adam Urbanzcyk, Bernard Fuhs and Jennifer Dukarski.
The two latter attorneys represent another possibly fake defendant in a federal case AF Holdings v. Ciccone (MIED 12-cv-14442). Apparently, Prenda, not being slapped on the wrist and emboldened by a relative success, decided to pull the same trick on the federal level. I did not report on this, but both DieTrollDie and Rob Cashman did. This case is a hot spot now — after two excellent motions were filed by attorneys John Hermann and Eric Grimm (documents 22 and 33).
Note that I do not imply that two Michigan defense attorneys colluded with Prenda. I don’t have enough information to make such serious allegations. As for Adam Urbanczyk, the benefit of doubt we gave him has depleted long time ago.
Individual vindictive and vexatious Guava cases filed across the nation won’t survive the Minneapolis blast either: Booth Sweet has already filed a request for judicial notice of Merlkel’s affidavit in the Guava v. John Doe case (MAD 12-cv-11880), which I covered recently.
Now the ball is in the hands of Attorney General and FBI. We’ll see if they finally realize the depth of Prenda’s criminal activities and its impact on the society.
Funny fact: sometime next week I planned a post — an appeal to all the three defendants in Prenda’s CFAA cases to go forward and report the fraud upon the court to the authorities (assuming that those three poor souls did not realize that they are on the hook for criminal charges). Prenda’s bottomless greed (mixed with sloppiness) ended up working in place of my planned appeal. It is beyond comprehension why the crooks started threatening a cooperating patsy. Well, I don’t have to write this appeal anymore, which frees up my time to report on a couple of similarly big news (and I have a t least two in the queue).
There is more than one event happened today in the same building, albeit not in a courtroom but in an elevator. But it is a different story. Stay intrigued.
- TechDirt: ‘Defendant’ In Prenda Law Case Reveals He Agreed To Take A Dive
- ArsTechnica: Porn trolling firm accused of colluding with defendant in sham lawsuit by Timothy Lee.
I have just obtained a document that sheds some light on one of the reasons behind Spencer Merkel’s decision to go forward. The fraud was first reported to the court on Tuesday 1/22/2013, when a couple of ISPs filed a joint support document embedded below. It does not add much to what is said above, except maybe a suggestion that Mr. Merkel’s attorney Trina Morrison was not an active participant in the scheme, but was rather fooled by Prenda and initially was not even aware of the fraudulent “deal.”
On 11/9/2016 Dugas was reprimanded (and ordered to pay $900) by the Minnesota Supreme Court:
[…] Michael Kevin Dugas committed professional misconduct warranting public discipline—namely, colluding with others to bring a lawsuit for the sole purpose of conducting discovery to find the identity of others against whom claims could be made, initiating the lawsuit in bad faith, and making false and misleading statements during the proceedings.