Has Prenda Law committed Systemic Fraud upon the Courts, Perjury, and Identity Theft?
It has been alleged that Prenda Law, a law firm that has notoriously sued tens of thousands of file-sharers, threatened others with robocalls, and is reportedly not in good standing with the State of Illinois, has committed identity theft and has filed more than 200 fraudulent cases. Specifically, it is alleged that in the past, a gentleman named Alan Cooper worked for John Steele (principal of Prenda Law) as a caretaker. John Steele later allegedly used Mr. Cooper’s identity without his knowledge or permission to register two offshore shell entities: AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13. Both of these entities were used to sue thousands of individuals who allegedly shared pornographic works via BitTorrent (See my posts tagged AF Holdings; See Fight Copyright Trolls posts tagged AF Holdings).
An attorney, Morgan Pietz, who represents a John Doe defendant in an Ingenuity 13 case, applied to the court for ex parte permission to take early limited discovery to determine the true identity of this Alan Cooper, on the basis that:
“A Very Limited Amount of Early Written Discovery is Appropriate in Light of Certain Facts Averred by One Alan Cooper of Minnesota, which Suggest Possible Systemic Fraud, Perjury, Identity Theft, and Lack of Standing.“
The court granted the ex parte application in full, allowing limited written discovery as detailed in the application. Things are going to get very interesting as we learn more about the true identity of Alan Cooper. Will Prenda Law will fight tooth-and-nail to avoid answering any questions?
Regarding the answer to the question posed in the title of this post: We may find out soon.
If you, the reader, are involved in an AF Holdings or Ingenuity 13 case, you should bring this matter to the attention of the court.
Note: there are a number of other informative and insightful resources regarding Prenda Law’s and John Steele’s alleged fraud and identity theft that are worth reading:
- Attorney Morgan Pietz attacks Prenda’s offshore businesses, SJD, Dec 3 2012.
- Man charges porn trolling firm Prenda Law with identity theft, Ars Technica, Dec 5 2012.
- John Steele’s Property Caretaker Intervenes In Copyright Trolling Case, Alleging Identity Theft, Techdirt, Dec 7 2012.
- Porn trolling firm dogged by identity theft allegations, Ars Technica, Dec 11 2012.
- Copyright Troll Prenda Law Dances Around The Simple Question: Which Alan Cooper Runs AF Holdings?, Techdirt, Dec 12 2012.
- Beyond SOPA: the top nine tech policy stories of 2012, Ars Technica, Dec 27 2012.
- Big news: Judge Wright has granted a discovery aimed at solving the Alan Cooper mystery (and, potentially, uncovering a fraud of epic proportions), SJD, Dec 28 2012.
Update: This post was slashdotted on 12/29.