After confessing to running subscription-based websites that illegally streamed thousands of copyright-protected movies and television series to customers, poker player Talon White was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison.
When he was detained in November 2019 and charged with copyright infringement and tax evasion, the Newport, Oregon native identified his occupation as "professional poker player." But it's evident where he made the majority of his money.
Between 2012 and his arrest in 2019, White won only $100,000 in live poker tournaments. At 2018, he finished 14th in a World Series of Poker tournament, which was the pinnacle of his professional career. However, his day job, digital piracy, was proving to be far more lucrative at the same time.
Prosecutors claim that White received more than $8 million in membership fees for his websites. He made roughly $3 million between February 2018 and September 2018. White is believed to have amassed nearly 43 million. The tipoffs came from online payment providers, including PayPal and Stripe.
During the November 2018 search-and-seizure operation, agents seized $3.9 million from his accounts, $35,000 in cash, and more than $1 million in cryptocurrency.
Hollywood Tries To Shut Down The Sites
The MPAA (now MPA) issued a cease-and-desist order to White's site Noobroom.com in the summer of 2014, however within days, the site began redirecting its visitors to a new site called SuperChillin.com. According to the MPAA, Oregon resident Talon White controlled this site, as well as two others called Movietv.co and SitPlay.com.
The MPAA was able to trace an IP address to White after downloading movies from SuperChillin, according to court records. White was named as the registrant of Sit2Play (which was a near-identical duplicate of Movietv.co) and had an associated email account.
False Tax Returns
White pleaded guilty to copyright infringement and tax evasion in November 2019. Prosecutors think he filed fraudulent personal income tax forms between 2013 and 2017, underreporting his income by more than $4.4 million.
Judge Ann L. Aiken of the US District Court ordered White to pay the MPAA and the IRS more than $4.3 million in damages. Because his property in Newport was purchased with proceeds of crime, White has consented to lose all currencies seized from his bank accounts, as well as all currencies seized from his bank accounts.