Danish anti-piracy lawyers stole millions from their clients, sentenced to years in prison

Johan Schlüter is (was!) a Danish lawyer whose firm contracted with the Antipiratgruppen (an entertainment industry group now called RettighedsAlliancen, whose members include the MPAA) to run legal campaigns against file-sharing services and their users.

Schlüter's entertainment industry credentials were impeccable — he had once served as director general of IFPI, the international umbrella group for the record industry, whose members include the RIAA. In 2015, an audit revealed that Schlüter and his colleagues at the firm had stolen some $15.83 million from their clients.

A Danish court has handed down sentences in the fraud: Schlüter has been sentenced to four years (it's a conditional sentence due to his advanced age); Susanne Fryland has been sentenced to five and a half years, and Lars Halgreen, a peripheral accomplice, has been conditionally sentenced to nine months.

The thefts came when the Schlüter firm hit financial difficulties that made it hard to pay their bills; to bridge the gap, they manufactured fraudulent invoices to Antipiratgruppen for work that hadn't been performed. Antipiratgruppen paid then invoices.

Susanne Fryland has appealed the decision, which also permanently bars her from practicing law or serving as a company director again.

Schlüter also says he will appeal the decision.

The trial heard that this kind of fraud, including but not limited to issuing unwarranted invoices, had been ongoing for at least four years.

Schlüter, a former director general of IFPI, was banned from practicing law and running a company. His lawyer, Jakob Arrevad, says he will read the verdict before deciding whether to file an appeal, DR.dk reports.

Susanne Fryland, who wasn't in court to hear the decision, was also banned from practicing law and running a company. She immediately filed an appeal, as did former associate Halgreen, who was banned from practicing law for two years.

Anti-Piracy Lawyers Sentenced to Years in Prison For Defrauding Copyright Holders [Andy/Torrentfreak]