Poker Pro Gets Jail Time For Movie Piracy
Talon White, the famed Poker player, has been sentenced to 12 months in a federal prison. This comes after he admitted to heading up operations at a subscription-based website that was responsible for streaming thousands of movies and television shows to users, all of which were protected by strict copyright laws.
The 31-year-old from Newport, Oregon, told prosecutors that he was a professional Poker player when he was arrested in November of 2019. At the time, he was charged with copyright infringement and tax evasion. However, despite his supposed profession, it was very clear where the bulk of his income really came from.
White Filed Fake Tax Returns
While the player pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2019, prosecutors believe that he filed false personal income tax returns between 2013 and 2017. They estimate that he underreported his income by over $4.4 million.
Judge Ann L. Aiken ordered White to pay restitution of $4.3 million to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPPA) and the IRS. The player has also agreed to forfeit everything seized from his bank accounts and his home in Newport, as it was purchased with the funds generated from this criminal act.
White was originally set to be sentenced last year, but his trial was postponed due to the global health crisis. Initially, the player faced up to five years in prison.
Prosecutors Seized Millions Of Dollars
As a professional Poker player, Talon White earned a total of $100,000 in live tournament winnings between 2012 and 2019. The highlight of his career saw him finish 14th in a World Series of Poker event back in 2018. According to the court, White amassed over $8 million in subscription fees from his website.
In October 2013, investigators received information about illegal websites, many of which were linked to the player. These sites would, for a fee, allow users to stream and download content, some of which were not yet officially released to the public.
According to court documents, these tipoffs came from online payment platforms like PayPal and Stripe, as well as MPAA, which was established to protect the intellectual property rights of the movie and television industries. White had previously been handed a cease-and-desist order from the MPAA in 2014. However, he ignored the notice and engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with authorities by moving his business and subscribers from one website to another.