Alan Cooper Sues John Steele, Prenda Law And The Shell Companies He Supposedly 'Runs'

from the other-shoe-drops dept

Well, well. It was really only a matter of time, but the Alan Cooper saga has moved into its next phase. If you don't recall, this story all starts with John Steele, who had been a divorce lawyer until he discovered copyright trolling, and suddenly went absolutely crazy filing copyright trolling lawsuits with the sole purpose of trying to scare people into paying up (of which he got a huge cut) rather than actually taking people through the judicial process. As a bunch of his lawsuits start flopping (even as enough uninformed people coughed up lots of money to Steele), he began shifting strategies. He claimed to have shut down his law firm, only to pop up again in Florida with Prenda Law doing the same thing (and ran into some troubles for not being licensed to practice law there). Late last year, it appeared that Steele hit on a new strategy of using shell companies to try a whole bunch of tricks and loopholes for getting around the reason his cases kept getting thrown out. There were suspicions that the shell companies, going by names like AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13 and Guava, were nothing more than Steele and/or his partners, but there was little evidence at the time. That's quickly changing.

Back in December, a guy named Alan Cooper, who had been hired by Steele to be the caretaker of some of Steele's property in Minnesota, intervened in a few AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 cases to point out that it had come to his attention that both companies were claiming that a guy named Alan Cooper was managing those companies, and he had reasons to believe that Steele had simply used his name. While a few courts ignored the letters, some judges have started asking questions, and no one associated with Prenda seems to want to answer the simple question: which Alan Cooper runs those companies?

Apparently Prenda's silence on the matter has been enough for caretaker Cooper (and his lawyer) and they've now sued Prenda, John Steele, AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13, directly claiming that Steele is in charge of all of those and forged Cooper's signature. In fact, in the exhibits, Cooper presents the caretaking agreement he did sign with Steele, and then suggests that documents showing a signature for Alan Cooper regarding AF Holdings or Ingenuity 13 are really attempts to forge the same signature in that caretaking document. Cooper is charging Steele and Prenda with invasion of privacy (via appropriation), deceptive trade practices and civil conspiracy, as well as arguing that the corporate veil should be pierced for all three companies, as they're nothing more than shells for Steele to hide behind.

Of course, if this keeps up, Steele may be facing a lot worse than civil charges. Forging someone's name and lying to the court aren't things that tend to go over well in criminal cases.




Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    Aww yeah

    [Grabs popcorn sits on edge of seat.]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    There is one Alan Cooper's ghost wandering in the Twitterworld.

    My favorite recent tweets:
    Shall I rejoice my inevitable fate? (To learn I have been fabricated.) The goodness in it: finally I can be exorcised from my fabricator.

    To the real MN #AlanCooper: I commend you. Stick it to the beast. Put me out of my misery.

    Soon #BrettGibbs, you gonna cough up that hairball and set me free. #AFHoldings #Ingenuity13 ( or u could #rat ).

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:54pm

    Well, the colorectal excretions have adhered to the bladed circulambatory air-propelling machine now.

     

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  4.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    Re:

    :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Wonder if he could get "lost wages" if he was being used as the CEO of profitable businesses?

    Go go highest paid caretaker in the world!

     

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  6.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    Shit, this looks more entertaining that WrestleMania.

    Where do I go to buy a ticket?

     

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  7.  
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    Glen, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    How the hell is Charles Carreon gonna top this?

     

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  8.  
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    Dave (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Perhaps Carreon will barge into the courtroom and claim that HE is, in fact, Alan Cooper.

     

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  9.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    I wonder how many other company names are going to come up in this...

    Any ideas how the courts might get the money out of St. Kitz/Nevis(sp)?

     

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  10.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:31pm

    Re:

    Just an idea, but if the companies are bogus, but the people running them aren't, wouldn't any fines by necessity have to be levied against the ones running said bogus companies?

    A nice ultimatum of 'pay the fines and/or have your properties seized to pay off the fines or go to jail' might get them to cough up the cash.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    I'm sure Charles Carreon will find a way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Matthew Cline (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

    If Cooper is wrong...

    For the sake of the argument, let's say that Alan Cooper the caretaker is wrong, and there is a different Alan Cooper managing the companies. What negative consequences could the caretaker suffer? IANAL, but my understanding is that the caretaker couldn't be sued for defamation or anything like that, since lawsuit filings are privileged. Is that wrong, and he could be sued for [whatever]? Could he be made to pay lawyer's fees for Prenda, John Steele, AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13? Anything else?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:43pm

    Re:

    Ohai TAC.

    1. A few :)
    2. Probably it's next to impossible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:45pm

    Re: If Cooper is wrong...

    If he were wrong, then the real Alan Cooper would be produced very quickly by the defendants along with a motion to dismiss with prejudice.

    Maybe possible counterclaims, but probably motion to collect costs of defending this nonsense (if it were actually nonsense, which I highly doubt).

    The court would expect that. The quickest way to knock this out is to simply produce the real Alan Cooper and show the caretaker is mistaken.

    This is like if SCO had any evidence of copyright infringement by IBM, it would have produced it's evidence right away so it could collect damages.

    It will be amusing to see what distractions, diversions and contortions that Steele et all will go through to try to deflect this lawsuit. Yes, we have an Alan Cooper, we really, really do. His signature just happens to be really similar to the caretaker. But out Alan Cooper is not available right now. He's, um, out of the country on business.

    This is going to be interesting because the quickest defense would be to simply produce the Alan Cooper that is not the caretaker.

     

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  15.  
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    matt C, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:54pm

    oops

     

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  16.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: If Cooper is wrong...

    This is going to be interesting because the quickest defense would be to simply produce the Alan Cooper that is not the caretaker.

    I actually have to wonder if that's the real reason behind the lawsuit(s), to either flush out the mysterious 'Alan Cooper', or cause Steele and co. to panic, run around and try and make even more excuses to try and get out of doing so.

    When you think about it, either say Prenda is pretty screwed here. If they don't cough up an Alan Cooper, they are all personally going to be sued.

    If they do cough up an Alan Cooper, and prove without a shadow of a doubt he is, and always has been the CEO of these companies, then he's also going to be personally responsible for the crap that's been pulled in his name, and there will almost certainly be some hard questions as to why he's only now stepping forward, given all the song and dance that's been going on to avoid him having to do so.

     

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  17.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 3:14pm

    Re:

    The US courts most likely wont, though if the US courts (or others) can prove that a false instrument was used to create the accounts and corporations than the specific foreign jurisdictions can initiate action and freeze any and all assets themselves.

    Lucrative for the governments involved, bad for the organisation owners, humorous for the rest of us.

     

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  18.  
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    Lurker Keith, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 3:20pm

    Re: If Cooper is wrong...

    It's a bit late for Prenda to claim the caretaker has no standing to sue, & so the caretaker probably can't face any penalties. A JUDGE has already asked for proof that the caretaker isn't Prenda's Alan Cooper, & has yet to be given any (instead, he got a cracked smoke & mirrors campaign, which he's not buying).

    Since the question has been dodged, rather than answered, that alone should be grounds to sue to straighten it out. Pretenda had their chance to avoid a trial, by producing the other Alan when a JUDGE asked, but they chose to keep playing their shell games instead.

     

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  19.  
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    Matthew Cline (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: If Cooper is wrong...

    Maybe possible counterclaims,
    What possible counterclaims would have even the remotest chances of sticking?

     

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  20.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Except they have more than enough resources to flee the reach of the court now.
    While they try to sort out who is doing what, they can take off. On the outside we all know Steele is writing a majority of Pretenda's papers... but the courts still believe he isn't working with them and is just a fan of copyright troll cases in obscure courtrooms in Florida.

    I've seen so much Pretenda paperwork and I've yet to see AF Films listed in any of Coopers paperwork. Another shell or more shoddy work by Pretenda. Entering into the court record the transfer of rights to a nonexistant shell would be naughty. Having screwed up the name of your shell company is naughty...

    Lets hope the veil goes buhbye and everything is seized before a shredding party.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 4:47pm

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you - the hero of average_joe, bob, out_of_the_asscrack, hurricane head up the ass and TroutFishingUSA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    Only jail would suffice to justice this fraud.

     

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  23.  
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    squirrel (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Aww yeah

    Popcorn has gotten old in this case. Time to move forward. I demand Chex mix.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 7:55pm

    DB Coopers Son

    Maybe there's a perfect explanation. Maybe John Steele is really DB Cooper's son Alan Cooper. And maybe, since his dad disappeared all those years ago after jumping out of an airplane, and got away with lots of cash, DB drilled it into young Alan that he could never, ever, ever, let anyone know his real identity.

    Except at one point, young Alan, having gotten his start in law as a result of investments from his father's cash, and spent so many years under the false identity of John Steele, began to crack under pressure. But rather than let the world know his real birth name, decided to pay a tribute to it, and his infamous dad, by listing Alan Cooper on paper.

    At this point, it's at least a possibility in this already movie-worthy case...

    :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re: If Cooper is wrong...

    Watch this as it turns out to be John Steele with a moustache, a fake nose and a pair of really thick glasses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:24pm

    Re: DB Coopers Son

    Quickly copyright that shit and sell it to Hollywood. You'll make millions!!!

    Oops sorry, movies never make a net profit. Write a book instead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:37pm

    Re: Re: DB Coopers Son

    Maybe I should copyright it, then hire Steele to sue anyone who ever wrote any story involving DB Cooper. I'll suggest he only focus on small companies and individuals, so we can force them to settle.

    To be sure we're successful, I'll hire Carmen Ortiz as a prosecutorial consultant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 4:52am

    Re:

    Convince Steve Gibson to join in and you get the legal Three Stooges.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 5:08am

    Re: Re: Re: DB Coopers Son

    No Steele would probably come up with some reason to sue you. At which time you should hire Carreon to defend against it. Then you hire producers from MTV and work a publishing deal with Court TV for a new show: Legal Celebrity Deathmatch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 7:43am

    Re: Re: Re: If Cooper is wrong...

    Or Paul Duffy with a mustache: he already rehearsed a year ago: http://vimeo.com/36715958 at 1:05

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jan 30th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re:

    I wonder which one is aj?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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