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By BeauHD from Slashdot's getting-what-they-deserved department:
July 12 '19 at 02:30 AM
John Steele, one of the attorneys behind the 'copyright troll' law firm Prenda, has been sentenced to five years in prison. The attorney was one of the masterminds behind the fraudulent scheme that extracted settlements from alleged pirates. Because of Steele's cooperative stance, his sentence is significantly lower than that of co-conspirator Paul Hansmeier. TorrentFreak reports: During a hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen convicted Steele to a five-year prison sentence. In addition, the disbarred attorney must pay his victims little over $1.5 million in restitution. Today's sentencing ironically comes 11 years after Steele was first admitted to the bar. The lower sentence, compared to Hansmeier, comes as no surprise. It was specifically recommended by the prosecution, which stressed that Steele didn't shy away from the ugly truth of his crimes and was very cooperative following the indictment.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Steele deserved a significant prison term. However, his cooperation and genuine remorse should be taken into account. Based on the sentencing guidelines Steele faced a potential prison sentence of more than 12 years, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Langner recommended five years in prison instead. Judge Ericksen went along with this recommendation. The Judge noted that courts "are not a tool in the box for anybody's hustle," adding that the five-year sentence was "imminently fair," as the Star Tribune report. "I condemn the actions that you took in committing this crime. I congratulate you, however, on the actions you took" in responding to the charges, Judge Ericksen said.