Attorney gets 14 years in prison in porn trolling scheme

June 14, 2019 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis attorney convicted of defrauding hundreds of people he threatened to expose as pornography customers has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Paul Hansmeier’s multimillion dollar fraud scheme from 2011 to 2014 involved seeding the internet with pornography so that he could convince the people who downloaded it into paying legal settlements to avoid costly and embarrassing lawsuits.

Prosecutors say Hansmeier blamed other lawyers who were hired to file lawsuits on his behalf, lied to the courts about his involvement and ordered that evidence be destroyed.


The Star Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen told Hansmeier during sentencing Friday that while he was “smarter than all get out,” it was almost incalculable how much his abuse of trust harmed the administration of justice.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com