Government asks Prenda’s victims to come forward: restitution is possible

Yesterday U.S. Attorney’s Office (District of Minnesota) issued the following statement:

Information For Victims Of USA v. Hansmeier, Et Al. Copyright Fraud Scheme

In the case of United States v. Hansmeier, et al., defendants PAUL R. HANSMEIER and JOHN L. STEELE will be sentenced on June 4, 2019, before Judge Joan N. Ericksen in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. HANSMEIER and STEELE were charged and convicted of orchestrating a multi-million dollar fraud scheme in which they obtained payments from victims to settle sham pornography film copyright infringement lawsuits. At the sentencing hearing, the Court may, but is not required to, order HANSMEIER and STEELE to pay restitution to the victims of their scheme.

If you believe that you are a victim of this scheme, and actually paid money to the entities involved in the case (including, but not limited to, Steele Hansmeier Law, Prenda Law, Alpha Law, Anti-Piracy Group, AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13, Guava LLC, Livewire, LW Systems), please visit to obtain information about how to make a claim for restitution in this case. Victim information will not be disclosed to the public.

The case is captioned United States v. Hansmeier, et al., Criminal No. 16-cr-00334 (JNE).

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8 responses to ‘Government asks Prenda’s victims to come forward: restitution is possible


    I am suspicious regarding this note and the request for information.

    When I attempted to submit data to the US Attorneys Office in Minnesota via its purported webpage — which has a really odd address for a government office, one registered to an online privacy firm with its HQ on a Caribbean island, the response I got was:

    This may be due to resource unavailability or a technical glitch. The problem has been logged and the support team has been notified via e-mail. Please try your request again. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

    How likely is that? Not very. I’m going to call the US Attorneys office in Minnesota before they close for the weekend and see what’s up there. should do the same.

    Also, the online domain,, is managed by a privacy protection firm with headquarters on a Caribbean island. At least according to ICANN, it has no basis as a registrant.

    Lastly, a WHOIS search of returned this response:

    “The requested second-level domain was not found in the Registry or Registrar’s WHOIS Server. No domains found.”

    Given that the Fight Copyright Trolls site’s been dormant for a very long time, it’s quite possible for it to have been taken over by other operators. I hope SJD will clear this up, and soon. FCT has been a valuable resource in the past, but this is really screwy.

    — Sol

    • I called the Minnesota District US Attorneys Office and spoke with staff who are now looking into the situation. I’ll post what they share with me, if anything, if they say it’s okay to do so.

      The only plausible explanation — purely speculative, on my part — is that the US Attorney in Minnesota has authorized third-party investigators to seek victim information in this way.

      I personally doubt that the US Attorney has authorized use of its logo or other appurtenances for this purpose, or that it condones having parties to a case send information online via a dubiously addressed. inoperative website.

      Be back to you….

    • Hi there, have not heard from you for a while. Glad to see you. I’m not aware of any hijackings and still own the domain (which is also registered via a Bahamas’ registrar, always has been) and the blog. Looks like you added an extra “o” to the address.

      Can’t comment on the restitution website: I saw the announcement and simply wanted to amplify the message.

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