NinjaVideo.net founder sentenced to 14 months in prison

A Virginia judge sentenced Matthew David Howard Smith, a founder of the NinjaVideo.net website, to 14 months in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

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NinjaVideo.net founder Matthew David Howard Smith has been sentenced to 14 months in prison by a Virginia judge.

Smith was indicted along with four others late last year. The US Department of Justice charged that they illegally provided copyright-protected movies and TV programmes for download from the NinjaVideo.net website. The site operated from February 2008 until authorities shut it down in June 2010.

The DOJ accused Smith of developing operational elements of the website and said that he and his colleagues collected more than $500,000 from website users.

In addition to prison and probation, Smith has been ordered to pay $172,387 and turn over five financial accounts and computer equipment. He was tried in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Smith's attorney did not immediately reply to a request for comment on his sentence.

One of Smith's colleagues, Hana Amal Beshara, was also recently sentenced for her alleged role at NinjaVideo.net to 22 months in prison and ordered to pay $210,000. Two others are awaiting sentencing, and an arrest warrant has been issued for another who lives in Greece. The fifth person was charged separately and has pleaded guilty, the DOJ said.

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