×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.

A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, on seven criminal charges each for conduct alleged to span early 2013 to the spring of 2015.

U.S. investigators said the defendants allegedly stole or illegally copied copies of movies and TV shows including: “Fifty Shades of Grey” (pictured above), “The Expendables 3,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Godzilla,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Horrible Bosses 2,” “The Walking Dead,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” They then offered to sell purloined titles prior to their official release or the same day as their U.S. theatrical release, according to the indictment.

All told, the five men allegedly stole more than 25,000 digital files, including feature films, trailers, TV episodes and audio tracks, which they stored on a server in France, according to U.S. officials. The crime ring also allegedly operated a website called “BollyTNT” used to distribute pirated Bollywood films.

To steal the files, the defendants hacked into the computer systems of Hollywood production companies, according to the indictment. They also illegally acquired copies of films through other means, including by recording theater screenings and by obtaining copies of movie screeners distribute to industry professionals, per the indictment.

The defendants are not in U.S. custody, officials said. According to federal prosecutors, the five are charged with conspiracy, computer hacking, and copyright violation — which each carry a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison — and aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two-year sentence to run consecutive to any other sentence imposed in the case.

The defendants charged in the indictment are: Malik Luqman Farooq, 30, of the U.K., who was previously arrested by London police on related charges and is awaiting trial; Aditya Raj, believed to reside in India; Sam Nhance, believed to reside in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Ghobhirajah Selvarajah, believed to reside in Malaysia; and Jitesh Jadhav, also believed to be a resident of India.

The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance with the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit as well as cooperation from French and Canadian authorities.

More Film

  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu

    China Box Office: Weekend Chart Dominated By Non-Chinese Films

    Unusually, all of the top five films at the China box office this weekend were non-Chinese. That’s a relatively rare occurrence, as audiences typically favor local films over foreign content. But it is one that may happen more often, as high-performing local titles become fewer and farther between due to production slowdowns. The lack of [...]

  • White Lie

    Playtime Boards Canadian Psychological Thriller 'White Lie' Starring Kacey Rohl (EXCLUSIVE)

    One of France’s leading sales companies, Playtime has boarded “White Lie,” a character-driven psychological thriller film from the promising new Toronto-based directors Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas. Now in post-production, “White Lie” is headlined by Kacey Rohl, who has been seen in hit TV series such as “The Killing,” “Arrow,” “Hannibal” and “Wayward Pines.” Rohl [...]

  • Cannes’ Focus CoPro’ Gives Push for

    Cannes’ Focus CoPro’ Gives Push for First-Time Features

    CANNES–Seven first-feature projects will be pitched to an audience of industry professionals at Focus CoPro’, an event hosted by Cannes’ Short Film Corner that will take place Tuesday May 21 at the Palais des Festivals. The pitching session, which is run in collaboration with Nisi Masa and the Pop Up Film Residency, was introduced last year [...]

  • Cannes: Star Alliance Movies Takes Wide’s

    Cannes: Star Alliance Movies Takes Wide’s ‘Blast’ for China (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES  —  Hong Kong’s Star Alliance Movies has pounced on all rights to China on “Blast,” a race against the clock thriller that marks the first full production from Wide, Loic Magneron’s Paris-based sales-production-distribution company. The deal, made against a background of slowing sales to China, represents the first pre-sale on “Blast,” which is now [...]

  • Brazil’s Cinemascopio, France’s Les Valseurs Team

    Brazil’s Cinemascopio, France’s Les Valseurs Team For Nara Normande, Tião’s ‘The Heron’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES — Recife-based CinemaScópio Produções and Paris’ Les Valseurs have teamed on “A Garça” (The Heron), the feature debut from Brazil’s Nara Normande, co-authored by Tião. Brazilian CinemaScópio is behind Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ Brazilian Western-thriller “Bacurau,” in competition at Cannes. Les Valseurs is also presenting Qiu Yang’s short “She Runs” at Critics’ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content