Two Indian nationals, Aditya Raj and Jitesh Jadav, are among the five men indicted by a grand jury in Los Angeles on December 12, 2018 for allegedly distributing or offering stolen digital versions of Hollywood motion pictures and TV Shows for sale prior to their official release.
Some of the Hollywood movies offered for sale allegedly include Fifty Shades of Grey, The Expendables 3 and The Walking Dead.
The seven count indictment charges the alleged co-conspirators with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, unauthorized access to a computer, aggravated identity theft, and copyright infringement.
According to the court documents filed in the case:
….members of the hacking conspiracy broke into computer systems used by Hollywood film production companies and stole digital files, including feature films, trailers, television series episodes and audio tracks. The ring allegedly put the stolen files on a server in France, which contained more than 25,000 motion picture-related files, including the feature films “Godzilla,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and “Horrible Bosses 2.”
The defendants also illicitly acquired copies of films by other means, including recording cinema screenings and obtaining copies of motion pictures distributed to movie industry professionals, according to the indictment, which outlines criminal conduct beginning in early 2013 and continuing into the spring of 2015.
Once they obtained the movies and other content, the defendants allegedly altered the properties of the computer files to make it easier to distribute online. According to the indictment, they offered the stolen motion picture files for sale via private electronic communications, but they also uploaded stolen movies onto pirate movie websites. The defendants used a shared PayPal account to receive and distribute money from the sale of the pirated motion pictures, the indictment states.
Aditya Raj, who is believed to be a resident of India, has allegedly released pirated movies on the internet and helped to arrange for the camcording of various films in India.
And Jitesh Jadav, who is also believed to be a resident of India, allegedly camcorded screenings of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in India that were sold by other members of the conspiracy.
Aditya Raj and Jitesh Jadav are among the five men indicted in an international movie piracy involving pre-release Hollywood films and TV shows.
The other three men indicted in the international movie piracy scheme are believed to be residents of United Kingdom, Dubai and Malaysia.
If convicted, the conspiracy, computer hacking, and copyright violation charges each carry a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
And the charges of aggravated identity theft carry a mandatory two-year sentence to run consecutive to any other sentence imposed in the case.
The co-conspirators are also alleged to have previously operated a website known as BollyTNT that used to distribute pirated Bollywood films.
Aditya Raj, Jitesh Jadav and their co-conspirators must be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with substantial assistance from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit of the City of London Police and cooperation from French and Canadian authorities in obtaining evidence stored abroad.