9:23pm PT by THR staff
Woman Sentenced to 22 Months in Prison for Operating Pirated Video Website
A founder of a website that allowed millions of people to illegally download movies and TV programs was sentenced Friday to 22 months in prison, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorneys Office.
Hana Amal Beshara, 30, a New Jersey resident and a founder of NinjaVideo.net, also was sentenced to two years of supervised release, 500 hours of community service and is being forced to repay more than $200,000 in profits from working on the site.
U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia did the sentencing after Beshara was indicted in September along with four other NinjaVideo staffers and pleaded guilty to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement. Three co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. An arrest warrant remains outstanding for the fourth co-defendant, Zoi Mertzanis of Greece.
The NinjaVideo site operated from Feb 2008 to June 2010 and featured pirated movies (some of which were still in theaters). Beshara was known as "Queen Phara" on the web and served as the public face of the site, which is said to have taken in more than $505,000 in revenue.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jay V. Prabhu and Lindsay A. Kelly and trial attorney Glenn Alexander of the computer crime & intellectual property section in the Justice Department’s criminal division.