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Jim Chester

ING Bank to Forfeit $619 Million for Role in Violating US Sanctions Laws

By Export, ITAR, OFAC / Sanctions

ING Bank N.V., a financial institution headquartered in Amsterdam, has agreed to forfeit $619 million to the Justice Department and the New York County District Attorney’s Office for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) and for violating New York state laws by illegally moving billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of sanctioned Cuban and Iranian entities. The bank has also entered into a parallel settlement agreement with the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

A criminal information was filed today in federal court in the District of Columbia charging ING Bank N.V. with one count of knowingly and willfully conspiring to violate the IEEPA and TWEA. ING Bank waived the federal indictment, agreed to the filing of the information and has accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and that of its employees. ING Bank agreed to forfeit $619 million as part of the deferred prosecution agreements reached with the Justice Department and the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

According to court documents, starting in the early 1990s and continuing until 2007, ING Bank violated U.S. and New York state laws by moving more than $2 billion illegally through the U.S. financial system – via more than 20,000 transactions – on behalf of Cuban and Iranian entities subject to U.S. economic sanctions. ING Bank knowingly and willfully engaged in this criminal conduct, which caused unaffiliated U.S. financial institutions to process transactions that otherwise should have been rejected, blocked or stopped for investigation under regulations by OFAC relating to transactions involving sanctioned countries and parties. “The fine announced today is the largest ever against a bank in connection with an investigation into U.S. sanctions violations and related offenses and underscores the national security implications of ING Bank’s criminal conduct. For more than a decade, ING Bank helped provide state sponsors of terror and other sanctioned entities with access to the U.S. financial system, allowing them to move billions of dollars through U.S. banks for illicit purchases and other activities,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “I applaud the agents, analysts and prosecutors who for years pursued this case.”

“Banks that try to skirt U.S. sanctions laws undermine the integrity of our financial system and threaten our national security,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “When banks place their loyalty to sanctioned clients above their obligation to follow the law, we will hold them accountable. On more than 20,000 occasions, ING intentionally manipulated financial and trade transactions to remove references to Iran, Cuba and other sanctioned countries and entities. Today’s $619 million forfeiture – the largest ever – holds ING accountable for its wrongdoing.”

“For years, ING Bank blatantly violated U.S. laws governing transactions involving Cuba and Iran, and then used shell companies and other deceptive measures to cover up its criminal conduct,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Today’s resolution reflects a strong collaboration among federal and state law enforcement partners to hold ING accountable.”

“Investigations of financial institutions, businesses and individuals who violate U.S. sanctions by misusing banks in New York are vitally important to national security and the integrity of our banking system,” said New York County District Attorney Vance. “These cases give teeth to sanctions enforcement, send a strong message about the need for transparency in international banking and ultimately contribute to the fight against money laundering and terror financing. I thank our federal partners for their cooperation and assistance in pursuing this investigation.”

“Today, ING Bank was held accountable for their illegal actions involving the movement of more than $2 billion through the U.S. financial system on behalf of Cuban and Iranian entities subject to U.S. economic sanctions,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Investigations of this type are complicated and demand significant time and dedication from agents, analysts and prosecutors. In this case, their steadfast tenacity brought this case through to today’s result, and we will continue to pursue these matters in diligent fashion.”

“In today’s environment of increasingly sophisticated financial markets, it’s critical that global institutions follow U.S. law, including sanctions against other countries,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Weber. “The IRS is proud to share its world-renowned financial investigative expertise in this and other complex financial investigations. Creating new strategies and models of cooperation among our law enforcement partners to ensure international financial compliance is a top-priority of the IRS.”

“Our sanctions laws reflect core U.S. national security and foreign policy interests and OFAC polices them aggressively. Today’s historic settlement should serve as a clear warning to anyone who would consider profiting by evading U.S. sanctions,” said OFAC Director Szubin. “We commend our federal and state colleagues for their work on this important investigation.”

The Scheme

According to court documents, ING Bank committed its criminal conduct by, among other things, processing payments for ING Bank’s Cuban banking operations through its branch in Curaçao on behalf of Cuban customers without reference to the payments’ origin, and by providing U.S. dollar trade finance services to sanctioned entities through misleading payment messages, shell companies and the misuse of ING Bank’s internal suspense account.

Furthermore, ING Bank eliminated payment data that would have revealed the involvement of sanctioned countries and entities, including Cuba and Iran; advised sanctioned clients on how to conceal their involvement in U.S. dollar transactions; fabricated ING Bank endorsement stamps for two Cuban banks to fraudulently process U.S. dollar travelers’ checks; and threatened to punish certain employees if they failed to take specified steps to remove references to sanctioned entities in payment messages.

According to court documents, this conduct occurred in various business units in ING Bank’s wholesale banking division and in locations around the world with the knowledge, approval and encouragement of senior corporate managers and legal and compliance departments. Over the years, several ING Bank employees raised concerns to management about the bank’s sanctions violations. However, no action was taken.

For decades, the United States has employed sanctions and embargoes on Iran and Cuba. Financial transactions conducted by wire on behalf of Iranian or Cuban financial institutions have been subject to these U.S. sanctions. The TWEA prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in financial transactions involving or benefiting Cuba or Cuban nationals and prohibits attempts to evade or avoid these restrictions. IEEPA makes it a crime to willfully attempt to commit, conspire to commit, or aid and abet in the commission of any violations of the Iranian Transaction Regulations, which prohibit the exportation of any services from the United States to Iran and any attempts to evade or avoid these restrictions. IEEPA and TWEA regulations are administered by OFAC.

The Investigation

The Justice Department’s investigation into ING Bank arose out of ongoing investigations into the illegal export of goods from the United States to sanctioned countries, including Iran. For instance, ING processed payments on behalf of one customer, Aviation Services International B.V. (ASI), a Dutch aviation company which was the subject of a U.S. Commerce Department-initiated criminal investigation, through the United States for trade services relating to the procurement by ASI of dual-use U.S. aviation parts for ASI’s Iranian clients. The ING Bank investigation also resulted in part from a criminal referral from OFAC, which was conducting its own probe of ING Bank.

ING Bank’s forfeiture of $309.5 million to the United States and $309.5 million to the New York County District Attorney’s Office will settle forfeiture claims by the Department of Justice and the state of New York. In light of the bank’s remedial actions to date and its willingness to acknowledge responsibility for its actions, the Department will recommend the dismissal of the information in 18 months, provided ING Bank fully cooperates with, and abides by, the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement.

OFAC’s settlement agreement with ING deems the bank’s obligations to pay a civil settlement amount of $619 million to be satisfied by its payment of an equal amount to the Justice Department and the state of New York. OFAC’s settlement agreement further requires the bank to conduct a review of its policies and procedures and their implementation, taking a risk-based sampling of U.S. dollar payments, to ensure that its OFAC compliance program is functioning effectively to detect, correct and report apparent sanctions violations to OFAC.


Customs Announces Simplified Entry Pilot to Enhance Cargo Security

By Import

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announces the delivery of the first phase of Cargo Release, known as Simplified Entry, in the Automated Commercial Environment. Simplified Entry provides importers with the chance to file a streamlined set of data earlier in the filing process providing more information earlier in the process and reduces the time needed for cargo to be released into the stream of commerce.

“The Simplified Entry Pilot is an outstanding example of what can happen when the government and the private sector co-create trade programs,” said Acting Commissioner, David V. Aguilar. “Simplified Entry will enhance cargo security, reduce cycle times, improve productivity, help eliminate redundant data transmissions, and potentially reduce costs.”

CBP has received the first Simplified Entry filings at each of the three pilot ports of Indianapolis, Chicago and Atlanta, as part of the pilot test that began May 29, 2012. To date, six of the nine pilot participants selected in December of 2011 have begun filing Simplified Entries.

Simplified Entry streamlines the release of goods and enhances cargo security. It segregates the filing of the transportation information from the filing of the entry information. This allows for the earlier filing of entry information. This, in turn, allows CBP personnel to apply more time and resources to higher risk shipments.

For information on Simplified Entry and other trade developments, visit the Trade website. ( Trade )


CBP Officers Pull the Plug on Unsafe Trees

By Import

As part of a joint effort with investigators from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers from the Port of Detroit targeted and seized three shipments of LED lighted trees after they were found to have undersized wiring and insufficient strain relief making them an electrical and flammability hazard. The total retail value of the trees was $9800.

The container, originating from China and destined for Michigan, arrived into the United States from Canada via commercial train at the International Falls Port of Entry on June 1. Upon arrival in Detroit, the shipment was examined by CBP officers who, in turn, sent product samples to the CPSC for analysis. A review of the samples by CPSC determined the products to be unsafe for the American consumer market.

“CBP officers work diligently to detect and prevent the importation of fraudulent merchandise that could cause serious injury to consumers,” said Roderick Blanchard, Port Director.

CBP in Detroit continues to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other enforcement agencies and organizations to combat the illegal import of counterfeit goods which pose significant health and safety dangers to the American public.

California Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Exports to Iran, Faces up to 20 years in Prison

By Export, International Business, ITAR

A California man pleaded guilty in Federal Court in Chicago to a felony charge stemming from his efforts to illegally export missile components from the United States to Iran, via the United Arab Emirates. The defendant, Andro Telemi, 42, of Sun Valley, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to export defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List from the United States without a license or approval from the U.S. Department of State in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan set sentencing for Oct. 30. Telemi faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison a $250,000 fine. Telemi pleaded guilty without entering into a plea agreement with the government.

“Our national security is threatened when anyone attempts to illegally export restricted military components that could fall into the wrong hands,” Mr. Hartwig said. “HSI will continue to aggressively investigate individuals and organizations who would seek to sell sensitive technology at the expense of our own security.”

Telemi, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran, also known as “Andre Telimi,” and “Andre Telemi,” was indicted in December 2009, along with co-defendant Davoud Baniameri, 39, of Woodland Hills, Calif. A superseding indictment in July 2010 charged Baniameri, Telemi and a third defendant, Syed Majid Mousavi, an Iranian citizen living in Iran. Baniameri pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison. Mousavi, also known as “Majid Moosavy,” remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Iran.

According to Telemi’s guilty plea and court records, sometime before Aug. 17, 2009, Baniameri contacted Telemi and requested his assistance in purchasing and exporting to Iran via Dubai 10 connector adapters for the TOW and TOW2 anti-armor missile systems. Telemi agreed and over the next month, they negotiated the purchase of 10 connector adaptors for $9,450 from a company in Illinois, which unbeknownst to them, was controlled by law enforcement. In September 2009, after Baniameri made a down payment to the Illinois company, he arranged for Telemi to pay the remaining balance and take possession of the connector adaptors in California. Telemi knew that he needed to obtain a license from the U.S. government to export the connector adaptors, and at no time did he or anyone else obtain, or attempt to obtain, such a license.


PRACTICAL TIP: Top ROI for Your Legal Dollars

By Blog, Customs IP Enforcement, Export, FCPA, Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ), Grab Bag, Import, Intellectual Property, International Business, International IP, Internet / eCommerce, ITAR, News

Based on our experience, some of the best uses of resources on legal advice and assistance for businesses and entrepreneurs (from a “bang for your buck” perspective) are:

  • Succession Planning. This includes buy-sell and similar provisions in company documents to deal with death, divorces, and other departures of co-owners, and also includes an updated estate plan such as a will and advance directives to ensure your legacy.

The benefits one can obtain from these legal mechanisms and protections, which generally cost less than $2,000, can pay for themselves many times over.


Tulsa Company Resolves FCPA Violations and Agrees to Pay $2 Million Penalty

By FCPA, International Business

The NORDAM Group Inc., a provider of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services based in Tulsa, Okla., has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to pay a $2 million penalty to resolve violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

According to the agreement, NORDAM, its subsidiaries and affiliates paid bribes to employees of airlines created, controlled and exclusively owned by the People’s Republic of China in order to secure contracts to perform MRO services for those airlines.  The bribes were paid both directly and indirectly to the airline employees.  In an effort to disguise the bribes, three employees of NORDAM’s affiliate entered into sales representation agreements with fictitious entities and then used the money paid by NORDAM to those entities to pay bribes to the airline employees.

In addition to the monetary penalty, NORDAM agreed to cooperate with the department for the three-year term of the agreement, to report periodically to the department concerning NORDAM’s compliance efforts, and to continue to implement an enhanced compliance program and internal controls designed to prevent and detect FCPA violations.

The department entered into a non-prosecution agreement with NORDAM as a result of NORDAM’s timely, voluntary and complete disclosure of the conduct, its cooperation with the department and its remedial efforts.  In addition, the agreement recognizes that a fine below the standard range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines is appropriate because NORDAM fully demonstrated to the department, and an independent accounting expert retained by the department verified, that a fine exceeding $2 million would substantially jeopardize the company’s continued viability.

Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found Here.



CBP Agriculture Specialists Stop Dangerous ‘Khapra Beetle’ Pest

By Import

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently intercepted one of the world’s most destructive pests of grain products and seeds in a shipment of soybeans arriving from India into the Port of Charleston, S.C.

Considered by many to be one of the top 100 worst invasive species worldwide and currently found in approximately 25 countries, the Khapra Beetle is a voracious feeder. If allowed to become established in the U.S., it is believed that the Khapra Beetle would cause wide-reaching economic impact, negative environmental impact due to increased use of fumigants and increased health risks to consumers.

“This significant pest interception demonstrates how very seriously CBP agriculture specialists take their job of protecting America’s agriculture industry through the detection of foreign evasive plant pests” said Joanne Fogg, CBP acting port director for the area Port of Charleston.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists inspected an import shipment of five containers with 2,100 bags of soybeans from India. Inspection revealed multiple insect life stages of beetles which were immediately submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final identification.

On July 26, the USDA confirmed that the larvae (approximately 1.6 to 1.8 mm long) were, in fact, Trogoderma granarium Everts, commonly referred to as Khapra Beetle. Due to the manner in which the bags were loaded and the type of bagging material used, the USDA and CBP agreed that refusing entry to the shipment was the best option. As a result, the infested shipment will be returned to India.

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences, risk analysis and agriculture import inspection techniques. They are considered to be the first line of defense in the protection of the agriculture, forest and livestock industries from exotic destructive plant pests and animal diseases.

Currently, invasive species cause an estimated $136 billion in lost agriculture revenue annually. Each day CBP prevents harmful elements like the Khapra Beetle from entering the U.S. at more than 300 ports of entry.


Chester Speaks to North Texas Technology Entrepreneurs

By Export, International Business, News, Technology Transactions

J. F. (Jim) Chester, founding partner in the Dallas-based global business & technology law firm of CHESTER pllc, recently presented a seminar on the legal implications of doing business internationally to an audience of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists at an event sponsored by the North Texas Enterprise Center (NTEC).  Chester co-presented the seminar with Cesar Reyna, CEO of Trade Consulting Services, LLC (, an international trade consulting firm.

NTEC regularly holds informational seminars, such as the recent event presented by Chester, to introduce such topics to its stakeholders and entrepreneur partners and affiliates as part of its mission to promote innovation and emerging technologies in the North Texas region.

The title of the presentation, which was held at the NTEC headquarters in Frisco, Texas, was: “Going Global:  Common International Business & Trade Legal Issues.”  Subject Chester and Reyna discussed includes international contracting and payment considerations, import/export and other international trade regulations, ITAR, FCPA, and international civil litigation.

Jim Chester, founder and managing partner in CHESTER pllc, also teaches courses on International Trade Law and International Business Transactions at Baylor University Law School.

Of the event, Chester reports, “International business presents a number of opportunities for companies of all sizes, but involves a lot of risk, as well.  Although many of the NTEC companies represented in the audience are ‘pre-revenue’ or start-ups at relatively early stages, they are already thinking globally – which is exactly what they need to be doing.”

About CHESTER pllc

CHESTER pllc is a Dallas, Texas law firm providing comprehensive legal services to innovation-based companies doing business in the US, around the world, and on the web.  Its mission (and passion) is helping entrepreneurs and emerging companies solve problems and protect their interests. CHESTER pllc delivers value by providing business-savvy, cost-effective solutions to legal challenges.  The firm offers a wide array of business legal solutions, such as business entity formation (LLCs, corporations, etc.), trademarks and other intellectual property, technology transactions, contracts, ecommerce and dispute resolution.  Additional information about the firm and its attorneys may be found at

About NTEC

The North Texas Enterprise Center (NTEC) is a not-for-profit organization based in Frisco, Texas, that operates as a business accelerator – providing a broad spectrum of services and support to MedTech and CleanTech start-up companies.  NTEC, which was founded in 2002, has grown to become one of the largest technology start-up accelerators in the South Central U.S.  NTEC’s core mission is assisting entrepreneurs with the challenging task of starting and expanding a new, technology-based business venture.  The target result of that mission is local and regional economic development, new job creation and industry diversification.  For more information, please visit

Jim Chester Featured in July 2012 Issue of Texas Bar Journal

By Intellectual Property, International Business, International IP, News

Jim Chester, founding member of Dallas-based global business & technology law firm CHESTER pllc, was featured in the July 2012 issue of the Texas Bar Journal.  A recognized expert in international business and intellectual property law, Chester was asked to write an article discussing, “Protecting Intellectual Property in International Markets.”  In the article, he discusses the need for IP protection while suggesting actions to take when conducting business on a global scale.   The article is available for download from the Texas Bar website.

Advising clients regarding trademark, copyright, trade secret protection, licensing and enforcement in the U.S. and abroad, Chester represents clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the U.S. Library of Congress (Copyright Office).  He also counsels companies on trade regulations involving customs, import and export laws which include International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  Chester routinely represents clients before U.S. Customs & Border Protection U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Defense Trade Controls, the Office of Foreign Asset Controls, the U.S. International Trade Administration, and other state, Federal and foreign governing agencies.  Chester is a licensed U.S. Customs Broker, and is admitted to practice law in Texas and Washington, D.C.

“For anyone conducting business outside of the U.S., the first stop in the protection process is to properly identify all IP assets,” Chester advises.  “Since all businesses make use of names, brands and logos (trademarks and service marks), designs, websites and software (copyright), inventions, ideas, and processes (patent and trade secrets) in some form, IP protection is essential when doing business outside the U.S.”

“Jim has a unique legal skill set combining international law with intellectual property expertise,” said Darin M. Klemchuk, a Dallas IP attorney and senior partner of Klemchuk Kubasta LLP.  “He has advised clients on business deals involving almost 100 countries, and has coordinated with foreign counsel on legal projects around the world.  Jim has also served as legal advisor to foreign companies doing business in the U.S.”

To be an effective international business and technology attorney, Chester has many years of experience in handling a broad range of domestic business matters, including entity formations, ecommerce, agreements, technology transactions, acquisitions, and other legal issues commonly faced by businesses. In addition to his work in international and IP law, Chester has been an adjunct professor of law at Baylor University Law School for more than ten years, teaching courses on International Trade Law and International Business Transactions.  He also served as an adjunct professor of Business Law at the University of Dallas for four years.



About CHESTER pllc

CHESTER pllc is a Dallas, Texas law firm providing mission-critical legal services to innovation-based companies doing business in the US, around the world, and on the web.  Its mission (and passion) is helping entrepreneurs and emerging companies solve problems and protect their interests. CHESTER pllc delivers value by providing business-savvy, cost-effective solutions to legal challenges.  The firm offers a wide array of business legal solutions, such as business entity formation (LLCs, corporations, etc.), trademarks and other intellectual property, technology transactions, contracts, ecommerce and dispute resolution.  Additional information about the firm and its attorneys may be found at

ICE seizes 70 Websites Offering Counterfeit Merchandise

By Customs IP Enforcement, Intellectual Property, Internet / eCommerce

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) recently seized 70 websites that were illegally selling counterfeit merchandise.

The 70 websites seized are part of Project Copy Cat, an iteration of Operation In Our Sites (IOS), and closely mimicked legitimate websites selling authentic merchandise and duped consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods. Many of the websites so closely resembled the legitimate websites that it would be difficult for even the most discerning consumer to tell the difference.

The websites are now shut down and their domain names are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to these websites will find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them about the federal crime of willful copyright infringement.

“This operation targeted criminals making a buck by trying to trick consumers into believing they were buying name brand products from legitimate websites when in fact they were buying counterfeits from illegal but sophisticated imposter sites located overseas,” said ICE Director John Morton. “The imposter sites were simply a fraud from start to finish and served no purpose other than to defraud and dupe unwary shoppers.”

A new twist in the websites seized in Project Copy Cat involved the appearance of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. SSL certificates provide authentication for financial information, meaning consumers should be able to trust that they are sending information to the intended server and not to a criminal’s server. Trusted SSL providers should only issue SSL certificates to verified companies that have gone through several identity checks. In addition to providing authentication, SSL certificates also provide encryption, enhancing the security of credit card numbers, usernames, passwords and other sensitive information. These websites, however, displayed SSL certificates, further duping the consumer into thinking they were shopping on a legitimate website, potentially putting customers’ financial information at risk.

During this operation, federal law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of a host of products, including baby carriers, professional sports jerseys, language and fitness DVD sets, and a variety of clothing, jewelry and luxury goods from online retailers who were suspected of selling counterfeit products. In most cases, the goods were shipped directly into the United States from suppliers in other countries. If the copyright holders confirmed that the purchased products were counterfeit or otherwise illegal, seizure orders for the domain names of the websites that sold the goods were obtained from federal magistrate judges.

“Every day the U.S. economy and American jobs are negatively impacted by criminal organizations engaged in the sale of counterfeit merchandise through rogue websites. Even more importantly, consumer’s health and safety can be threatened when they unknowingly purchase counterfeit products,” said IPR Center Director Lev Kubiak. “Our goal at the IPR Center is to protect the public’s safety and economic welfare through robust intellectual property enforcement and we hope that today’s enforcement actions raise the public’s awareness to this pervasive crime.”

This operation was the next phase of IOS, a sustained law enforcement initiative that began two years ago to protect consumers by targeting the sale of counterfeit merchandise on the Internet. These 70 domain name seizures bring the total number of IOS domain names seized in the last two years to 839. This enforcement action coincides with the two-year anniversary of the 2010 launch of IOS. Since then, the seizure banner has received more than 103 million individual views.

Of the 769 previous domain names seized, 229 have now been forfeited to the U.S. government. The federal forfeiture process affords individuals who have an interest in seized domain names a period of time after a “Notice of Seizure” to file a petition with a federal court and additional time after a “Notice of Forfeiture” to contest the forfeiture. If no petitions or claims are filed, the domain names become the property of the U.S. government. Additionally, a public service announcement, launched in April 2011, is linked from the seizure banner on each of the 229 forfeited websites. This video educates the public about the economic impact of counterfeiting.

The operation was spearheaded by the IPR Center in coordination with HSI field offices in Denver, El Paso, Houston, Newark and Salt Lake City. U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Western District of Texas, Southern District of Texas, District of New Jersey, District of Colorado and the District of Utah issued the warrants for the seizures. The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. The IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.

During the first phase of IOS in 2010, the IPR Center received information from the Motion Picture Association of America that a website, (Ninja Video), was illegally distributing pirated copies of motion pictures and other audiovisual works. Ninja Video provided its millions of visitors the ability to illegally download high quality copies of copyrighted movies including movies that were currently in theaters or not yet released.

Following the seizure of the website, search warrants were executed at the residences of the primary suspects in the United States and funds were seized from 15 separate financial accounts. To date, the Ninja Video investigation has resulted in the arrest and conviction of five of the six co-conspirators with sentences ranging from 22 months in federal prison to three years of probation with a combined restitution exceeding $470,000 to the victims. A sixth co-conspirator remains a fugitive. In addition to Ninja Video, IOS phase one also targeted eight other websites selling counterfeit merchandise in New York.