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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Internet Movie Pirate Gets 22 Months

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) - A founder of a seized and shuttered website that let millions of users illegally download movies and TV shows was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison.

Hana Amal Beshara, 30, of North Brunswick, N.J., was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

Beshara also must serve 2 years of supervised release, do 500 hours of community service, repay more than $209,000 that she got from her work at NinjaVideo.net and forfeit to the federal government financial accounts and computer equipment involved in the crimes.

Beshara was indicted with four other top administrators of NinjaVideo.net in September 2011. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement.

Three co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Zoi Mertzanis, of Greece, is a fugitive from an arrest warrant.

A sixth co-founder of NinjaVideo.net who was charged separately also pleaded guilty.

Beshara was one of the founders of the NinjaVideo.net, which operated from February 2008 until it was shut down in June 2010. It let visitors see for free many movies that were still in theaters, as well as movies that had not yet been released in theaters, and many television programs immediately after they aired.

Known as "Queen Phara" on the Internet, Beshara was the public face of NinjaVideo.net. Prosecutors say she supervised the uploading and placement of infringing television programs and movies on the website and served as lead moderator of the website's forum boards.

At one point, Beshara managed the conspiracy's finances, including receiving advertising revenue generated by web traffic. Advertising revenue and visitor donations generated more than $505,000 in income for the conspiracy, with Beshara personally receiving nearly $210,000, the Justice Department said.

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