Feds in NY shut down 16 sports streaming websites

February 2, 2012 By LARRY NEUMEISTER , Associated Press
Andrew McLees, special agent in charge with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, talks about counterfeit NFL football merchandise seized during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Newark, N.J. Federal officials say authorities seized nearly $5 million worth of phony Super Bowl sportswear and merchandise in a nationwide sweep. The seizure comes amid an important week in football as the New England Patriots and the New York Giants face off in Super Bowl XLVI Feb. 5. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(AP) -- With the Super Bowl days away, federal authorities announced a crackdown Thursday on websites that stream unauthorized broadcasts of sports events just hours after New England quarterback Tom Brady told reporters gathered in Indianapolis that he watched last year's game on an illegal site.

Investigators seized 16 sites and brought criminal charges against a Michigan man who controlled nine of them.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara warned sports fans in a release that piracy costs sports leagues and broadcasters millions of dollars, forcing increases in ticket prices and other costs to consumers.

His message came soon after Brady casually mentioned his own use of illegal websites during a news conference staged in preparation for the on Sunday between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

"Last year I was rehabbing my foot in Costa Rica, watching the game on an illegal Super Bowl website. And now I'm actually playing in the game. So, it's pretty cool," Brady said.

Web operator Yonjo Quiroa, of Comstock Park, Mich., was charged Wednesday with copyright infringement. Prosecutors said he distributed football, basketball and hockey games and wrestling matches.

Quiroa appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday. He was held without bail while his immigration status was under review. Larry Phelan, his lawyer, declined to comment.

Authorities said the prosecution was part of a continuing federal effort to target counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet.

Also in Indianapolis, said they seized nearly $5 million worth of phony Super Bowl sportswear and merchandise in a nationwide sweep that was the result of a four-month investigation.

Officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection said agents targeted stores, flea markets and street vendors that allegedly sold counterfeit game-related sportswear. Fake jerseys, ball caps, T-shirts, jackets and other souvenirs were among the 42,000 items confiscated in Operation Fake Sweep.

Authorities put the total take at more than $4.8 million, up from $3.7 million last year.

Also seized were counterfeit Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL items worth about $1.6 million.

Explore further: Feds disable movie piracy websites in raids

0 shares

Related Stories

Feds disable movie piracy websites in raids

June 30, 2010

(AP) -- U.S. officials on Wednesday announced a major crackdown on movie piracy that involved disabling nine websites that were offering downloads of pirated movies in some cases hours after they appeared in theaters.

US accuses 10 sports websites of piracy links

February 3, 2011

US agents have sidelined 10 websites they said were linking viewers to pirated telecasts of live sporting events including professional basketball, hockey, wrestling, and other sports.

Spanish website fighting domain name seizure

June 14, 2011

A popular Spanish website whose .com and .org domain names were seized by the US authorities for alleged copyright violations is challenging the move in a US court.

US closes 150 websites in counterfeit crackdown

November 28, 2011

US authorities said Monday they have shut down 150 websites offering counterfeit goods like sports jerseys and luxury handbags in an operation tied to the pre-Christmas shopping surge.

Megaupload latest target of US anti-piracy campaign

January 21, 2012

File-sharing website Megaupload is the most high-profile target yet of a US campaign which has seen the seizure of hundreds of sites accused of offering pirated music or movies or counterfeit goods.

Recommended for you

Schlieren images reveal supersonic shock waves

August 27, 2015

NASA researchers in California are using a modern version of a 150-year-old German photography technique to capture images of shock waves created by supersonic airplanes. Over the past five years scientists from NASA's Armstrong ...

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bugmenot23
1 / 5 (1) Feb 03, 2012
Glad they're out there getting the pirates instead of the rapists, thieves, kidnappers and murderers. We all know where our priorities should be.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.