Parents of Pirate Site Admin Sentenced For Money Laundering

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The former admin of a pair of file-sharing sites that had their domains seized in 2012 has this week been handed a 22 month suspended jail sentence. Also punished were the man's parents, who were sentenced to 10 months after using their bank account to accept site advertising revenue.

flag-italyBack in February 2012, Italian media began reporting on the sudden closure of two popular file-sharing sites said to have 270,000 users.

Acting on a court order, the Guardia di Finanza (financial police) seized the domains of Scaricolibero.com and Filmgratis.tv and ordered ISPs to block the IP addresses of the sites’ servers in the Netherlands. The order also authorized seizure of bank accounts connected to the site.

The order was granted based on allegations of copyright infringement from local entertainment companies and claims of receiving stolen goods/money laundering. At the time the sites were said to be making around $300 a day from advertising.

IT-seized

It’s taken more than two years but this week the Italian legal system finally wrapped up the case against the sites’ former operator and his family accomplices, finding all three guilty as charged.

Fortunately the now 23-year-old will not spend any time behind bars, having been handed a 22 month suspended sentence after generating around 137,000 euros from the sites. Interestingly, his parents also became involved in the case after allowing their bank account to be used to collect advertising revenue.

“The parents, who owned the bank account where the money from ads were allocated, were sentenced for money laundering,” Enzo Mazzo of music industry group Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana informs TorrentFreak.

The couple received a 10 month suspended sentence after benefitting to the tune of 48,000 euros.

“It’s a very good decision,” Mazza adds. “Our anti-piracy team FPM assisted during the case and we are really satisfied with the decision which has shown clear evidence of the link between piracy and the collection of money through advertisements.”

In the future FIMI and its local associates will be looking to take a more proactive approach by stopping revenue reaching pirate sites in the first place. Earlier this month a new Italian coalition announced its plans to continue the “follow-the-money” theme being played out around Europe and the United States.

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