- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Authorities on Wednesday announced they had dismantled an international video piracy ring that allegedly caused tens of millions of dollars in losses to film studios.
Three men were arrested in the investigation, with federal charges filed of copyright infringement and wire fraud stemming from alleged involvement in the Sparks Group, an international piracy ring involved in illegally distributing movies and television shows on the Internet, according to authorities.
Umar Ahman, 39, aka “Artist;” George Bridi, 50; and Jonatan Correa, 36, aka “Raid,” were taken into custody, according to authorities.
According to allegations in the indictment unsealed Wednesday, the three men, and others known and unknown, were allegedly members of the Sparks Group, which disseminated movies and television shows online prior to their retail release date.
“As alleged, the defendants were members of an international video piracy ring that was sophisticated and widespread,” Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a statement. “The group allegedly circumvented copyright protections on nearly every movie released by major production studios, as well as television shows, and distributed them by way of a worldwide network of servers. Thanks to the efforts of HSI, the Postal Inspection Service, Eurojust, Europol, and our law enforcement partners in 18 countries on three continents, key members of this group are in custody, and the servers that were the pipeline for wholesale theft of intellectual property are now out of service.”
The Sparks Group was taken offline Wednesday around the world.
Ahmad, Bridi and Correa were each charged with copyright infringement conspiracy, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Bridi was also charged with wire fraud conspiracy, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and conspiracy to transport stolen property interstate, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day