Federal Prosecutors Recommend Paul Hansmeier Spend The Next 12 Years In Prison
from the not-so-clever-Hans-heads-for-the-federal-glue-factory dept
Cue the Ron Paul “It’s Happening!!!!” gif. The wheels of justice have been grinding away for years now, but they’ve finally generated several years for longtime copyright troll/supervillain Paul Hansmeier. After making a career out of extorting settlements from alleged porn-watching infringers, extorting settlements from small businesses with bogus ADA complaints, attempting to hide his wealth from his creditors (some of which were owed money for sanctions imposed in copyright trolling cases), and otherwise putting on a one-man show entitled “Why We Hate Lawyers,” Hansmeier is facing the possibility of spending the next decade in prison.
The sentencing recommendation [PDF] prepared by the prosecutors has nothing good to say about Hansmeier. In fact, the prosecutors make it clear they’d have given him even more than the 12+ years they’ve recommended. (h/t Virgil Abt)
Here are the numbers:
As reflected in the report, the appropriate guidelines range for Paul Hansmeier is 135 to 168 months in prison.
And here’s the reasoning for the lengthy sentence:
Paul Hansmeier was the driving force behind this massive scheme. It was Hansmeier who came up with the idea to construct a copyright settlement mill focused on pornographic films. It was Hansmeier who directed his brother to upload clients’ movies onto file-sharing websites to lure downloaders. It was Hansmeier who drafted nearly all of the legal pleadings used to deceive judges. It was Hansmeier who invented phantom hacking allegations. And it was Hansmeier who lied to judges, dissembled in depositions, and coerced others to conceal the truth.
The government says John Steele was basically the muscle — an intimidating figure who also handled the bookwork for the scheme. But it was Hansmeier who did the dirtiest of the dirty work. And as such, he should be dealt with more harshly. And this is hardly the end of the government’s summary of Hansmeiers’ dirty work. The filing continues in this fashion for several pages — a fitting tribute to Hansmeiers’ scamsmanship.
The headings alone indicate the depth of Hansmeiers’ grift.
Hansmeier repeatedly deceived courts
Hansmeier and Steele owned and controlled the plaintiffs
Hansmeier invented allegations of hacking
Hansmeier protected himself by using proxies
The details interspersed between these headings are devastating in their description of Hansmeier and his long-running fraud.
Hansmeier concealed from the courts that he filmed and produced much of the pornography in this case himself, not for commercial distribution, but for the sole purpose of using the resulting pornographic movies as bait.
Hansmeier compounded his egregiously disgraceful misuse of Judge Bransford’s subpoena authority by lying directly to her face in open court…
Hansmeier hid the fact that he and his codefendant, John Steele, were the attorneys responsible for filing every fraudulent copyright infringement lawsuit in this case. Hansmeier and Steele recruited an alcoholic and now-deceased Chicago attorney named Paul Duffy to serve as the putative owner of “Prenda Law,” the firm that represented AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13, and the other sham plaintiffs in the various copyright cases.
[W]hen courts around the country sought to hold Hansmeier responsible for the fraud and damages he had wrought, Hansmeier resorted to perjury and suborning perjury to escape blame and retain the proceeds of the scheme. Hansmeier and Steele swore out false declarations, gave false testimony in depositions and at court hearings, and caused Lutz to do the same…
Even after Judge Wright’s widely-read order sanctioning Hansmeier, Hansmeier continued to hide the money he gained through the fraudulent scheme. Hansmeier transferred money into his new law firm, Alpha Law, into accounts controlled by his wife, Padraigin Browne, and a sham trust called “Monyet,” and then filed a fraudulent bankruptcy case concealing the fact that Hansmeier retained control over a substantial amount of the proceeds of his fraud case.
The whole recommendation is a depressing read simply for the fact this scam went unimpeded for so long. The government wraps up this ugly narrative with its recommended sentence, but only after offering this last appraisal of Paul Hansmeier.
In summary, Hansmeier was greedy, arrogant, devious, mendacious, and consistently positioned other people to be damaged by his conduct, even as he enjoyed the proceeds of the scheme he orchestrated. Even now, Hansmeier continues to accept responsibility only in conditional terms, hoping to convince the appeals court that his shocking abuse of his position of trust as a Minnesota attorney, and an officer of its courts, was somehow legal.
The government says its final call is 150 months, but the footnote attached indicates the government would have handed out so much more if it had not already agreed not to.
In the plea agreement, the government agreed not to recommend a sentence above 150 months.
Twelve years is a lot of time. But Hansmeier appears to have earned every day of it.