Five-year prison term possible
Talon White, an Oregon man charged with running a massive video piracy operation through which he earned more than $8 million in illicit profits, has pleaded guilty to two charges in the case. White, now 29, of Newport, Oregon, acknowledged his guilt on one count each of criminal infringement of copyright and tax evasion.
he earned more than $8 million in illicit profits
White, who was described by his defense attorney as a professional poker player, faces a maximum five-year prison term when sentenced on February 21, 2020. He will also be fined up to $250,000 in addition to agreeing to the forfeiture of more than $4 million in cash, cryptocurrency, and other assets.
The video piracy case made headlines in May 2019, during the second and larger of two civil forfeiture cases filed against White’s assets. The forfeiture targeted the millions in dollars in monetary assets White had earned through at least five years of video piracy, beginning in 2013.
An earlier forfeiture action in November 2018 targeted White’s $450,000 Newport, Oregon home but initially escaped public notice.
Criminal complaint a late addition
The criminal charges to which White pleaded guilty were not originally part of the forfeiture cases. Those two actions targeted only the assets, forcing White to file as a claimant to preserve any ownership rights.
White’s Texas-based attorney, Rain Mimms, originally asserted that the seizures themselves were unjust and illegal. She claimed she would raise First, Fifth, and Eighth Amendment arguments on White’s behalf.
However, both sides later petitioned the court to stay both civil forfeiture cases as possible criminal charges were evaluated.
White arraigned on same day as plea deal announcement
US federal case records show a new felony case docket against White opened on November 1, 2019, likely following an agreement in principle on the plea deal.
A scheduling update followed just days later, and White was arraigned on November 25, the same day the plea deal was announced. The plea deal also terminates the civil forfeiture actions.
Also included in the US District of Oregon USAO statement is the huge forfeiture agreement. White will relinquish his claim to the seized cash and cryptocurrency. $669,557 will be restituted to the Motion Picture Association of America as damages for White’s video thefts. Another $3,392,708 in restitution, including penalties and interest, goes to the US’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to resolve the tax debt.
Massive underreported income
According to the USAO investigators, White’s tax returns for the years 2013-2017 bore little relation to the truth of the situation.
White had underreported his income for those five years by more than $4.4 million
The returns showed annual income from $5,223 in 2015 to $188,765 the following year. Instead, investigators traced millions of dollars moving from White’s illegal online video subscription sites into numerous bank accounts, primarily in Oregon and Nevada.
This meant White had underreported his income for those five years by more than $4.4 million. His taxes on that amounted to more than $1.9 million, which was then subject to more than $1.4 million more in penalties and interest.
White sold hundreds of thousands of low-cost video-download subscriptions through numerous sites including www.noobroom.com, www.noobroom7.com, Superchillin.com, Movietv.to, and Sit2play.com.