Two lawyers to be convicted for a “massive extortion scheme”

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They never intended to go forward with the lawsuits because the litigation would reveal that they had uploaded the movies themselves. This way, the pair raked in about $6 million in settlements, prosecutors said. The two lawyers began by offering to represent the makers of sex films against video pirating. But instead of trying to protect the copyrighted material, they allegedly put them on websites where they knew they would be illegally downloaded. They even produced some of the pornography, solely for the purpose of copyrighting it so they could file “sham lawsuits” used to shake down their targets. As a deceptive conclusion, “everything about their practice of law was fraudulent,” Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said. Authorities arrested Paul Hansmeier, of Woodbury, shortly before U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced charges on Dec. 16. Steele was arrested in Florida.

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