Ill. Attorney Discipline Board Charges Prenda Attorney

Aug 20, 2015 4:13 PM PST

CHICAGO — Illinois’ attorney discipline board today filed a seven-count complaint against former Prenda Law attorney John Steele.

The discipline board, an administrative regulatory agency that reports to the state’s high court, leveled counts against Steele for dishonest conduct, fraud on the court, bad-faith litigation, misrepresentations to the court and improper use of the judicial system in its findings.

The complaint against Steele now will be headed to a hearing board for disposition, which could lead to his disbarment in Illinois.

Steele, along with attorneys Paul Hansmeier and Paul Duffy, wound down Prenda Law in 2013 after U.S. District Judge Otis Wright in Los Angeles sanctioned the three for deceiving the court in a porn copyright infringement case. 

The Prenda Law attorneys allegedly created shell companies in order to file porn copyright infringement and computer hacking suits to exploit court subpoena powers and extort settlements, typically about $3,400 per defendant, according to court records.

In the past year, the attorneys have filed appeals in several cases where they were sanctioned for misconduct. And just this month, Duffy died reportedly from heart and alcohol-related conditions.

Pictured: John Steele

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