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Prenda Law's Steele sentenced to 5 years in prison for role in $3M shakedown scheme vs online porn downloaders
A former Chicago lawyer, one of the principals at Prenda Law and one of the masterminds behind a scheme to secure millions of dollars in settlements as part of a shakedown scheme targeted at those downloading online porn, has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Paul Hansmeier, one of two Prenda lawyers behind a scheme to use lawsuit threats to allegedly shakedown downloaders of online porn, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Prenda Law's Steele disbarred; six other IL lawyers also disbarred, nine suspended, IL Supreme Court says
John L. Steele, a Chicago lawyer already indicted for his role in the Prenda Law shakedown scheme targeting downloaders of online porn, has been disbarred. On May 19, the Illinois Supreme Court announced its action against Steele, as well as six others who were disbarred by the court in attorney disciplinary orders handed down May 18. The court also suspended nine other attorneys and censured or reprimanded six more.
John L. Steele, an indicted Chicago lawyer who served as one of the principals at Prenda Law, has pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from his role in an alleged shakedown scheme allegedly designed to entrap and extract millions of dollars in settlements from those accused of illegally downloading internet porn.
A Chicago lawyer, already accused by Illinois legal regulators of running a “shakedown” scheme, and his former partner have been criminally charged for their work, purportedly on behalf of businesses holding the rights to pornographic videos, to collect millions of dollars in settlements from people across the country they accused of illegally downloading the porn content.
Whether it’s the cost of compliance - in the form of handicapped restrooms, ramps, elevators or even simple signage – or the cost of a trial, the dollars can add up quickly for small businesses facing accessibility lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Last year, of the 94 ADA accessibility lawsuits filed in Chicago's federal courts, 77 of them came from just eight plaintiffs. And most of those were represented by one of two legal practices, leading some of those sued to assert they were targeted by serial litigators.
Easy Access: Chicago shops large & small latest targets of growing trend of ADA Title III accessibility lawsuits
The odds that an individual shop or restaurant could be hit with a disability equal access lawsuit under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act remains small. But the likelihood is increasing, as more lawyers take aim at shops of all sizes, including owners of small mom-and-pop shops in older buildings.
A Chicago attorney who made millions pursuing copyright and computer hacking litigation on behalf of businesses purporting to hold the rights to pornographic videos is being accused of carrying out a shakedown scheme in courts in Chicago, as well as in St. Clair County and other jurisdictions around the country.Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Administrator Jerome Larkin on Aug. 20 brought seven charges against lawyer John L. Steele over his conduct in courts that also