Following the mid-2010 ‘first round’ of the ongoing “Operation in Our Sites”, five people connected to NinjaVideo streaming movie and TV show portal were indicted by a federal grand jury in September.
The latest to plead guilty are Joshua David Evans, 34, of North Bend, Wash., and 33-year-old Jeremy Lynn Andrew of Eugene, Ore.
According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Evans pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of criminal copyright infringement relating to the release of the movie Iron Man 2 before its commercial premiere. Andrew pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy.
In court documents, Evans (known online as Wadswerth) is described as “Head God” of NinjaVideo’s uploading team, i.e the person responsible for supervising the people bringing new content to the site. He was also said to have been responsible for carrying out background checks on people wishing to communicate with the admins of NinjaVideo.
In addition to monitoring the Ninja servers for unauthorized access, Andrew, “Ninja’s Head of Security”, also served as a moderator on the site’s forums. He was known online as “Htrdfrk”.
Of the total $505,000 said to have been made by NinjaVideo during its operations, Evans has admitted to receiving $26,600, Andrew just $5,250. The pair will have to pay restitution in these amounts.
Evans will be sentenced January 2012, Andrew in February. Both face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Previously, Hana Beshara, “The Queen” of NinjaVideo, pleaded guilty to negotiating agreements with online advertisers and receiving $200,000 of the site’s income. She will be sentenced January 2012.
Co-founder 23-year old Matthew Smith (known online as Dead1ne) also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement. He will be sentenced December 2011.
The fifth defendant in the case is Zoi Mertzanis of Greece. Known online as “Tik”, Mertzanis stands accused of being one the site’s most active uploaders with responsibilities for supervising other uploaders in Europe. A warrant has been issued for the defendant’s arrest.