Dennis Collins, a defendant in the Paypal14 and Payback13 case is scheduled to appear in court in Virginia on October 7. He has written the following message requesting your assistance:
Greetings To All,
My name is Dennis Owen Collins. Most of you have probably never heard my name but many of you know me as ‘Owen’. I’m 53 years old and I live in Toledo, Ohio which is where i was born and hopefully, where I will die. I am terminally ill with an irreversible lung condition. My life expectancy is short.
My ordeal began back in 2010 when i joined an IRC network because I objected to what the MPAA and RIAA had done, which was hire an Indian firm called Aiplex to perform a DDoS attack on the Piratebay and other torrent sites. In January 2011, I was rudely awakened by an FBI entry team in full body armor and pointing guns at me and my 87 year old mother whom I live with and care for. She is a double cancer survivor but also has other medical issues including emphysema. The FBI was so very polite as they shoved me face first into a wall and then handcuffed me and tossed me into a chair. I sat there as they searched my house and removed all of my computers and other stuff. They care not for what condition they leave your house in when they are finished. To say it was a mess, is putting it mildly. It was at that moment, my life was turned upside down.
In July 2011, the above situation was repeated; awakened again at 6am by the FBI. This time, they had come to arrest me. I was now part of what became known as the Paypal 14. I am the lead defendant in that case. Over the next couple of years, I made many trips to California as this case was filed in federal court in the Northern District of California. I and the other 13 were charged with attacking a protected computer system and conspiracy. We were all facing up to 15 years in federal prison and fine up to 1 million dollars, not including restitution which Paypal claimed to be 5.5 million in damages, lol.
After a couple of years of negotiations behind closed doors and under orders to discuss this with no one, a settlement was agreed upon. This is a matter of public record now. To say I was filled with relief and hope is an understatement. We had stood as one and were able to come to an agreement as to sentencing, etc.
Then it all changed…For me anyhow.
In October of 2013, I was charged and made the lead defendant in a case filed in the Eastern District of Virginia. I was once again charged with conspiracy, a felony which allowed for a 5 year jail sentence and up to $500,000 in fines plus restitution. I was now part of a new group of people who became known publicly as the payback 13.
This new indictment had a ripple effect. Not only did I now have to defend myself in Virginia but I was no longer allowed to participate in the settlement agreement reached in California. That case is still there, awaiting the outcome of the case in Virginia.
It became clear the US government had labeled me as the ‘leader’ and I am the only defendant charged in BOTH cases. Needless to say, i have pled not guilty to this case, too.
The amount of stress and the effects of travel to both the east and west coasts has caused very adverse effects to my health. I am stage 4 (end stage) COPD with respiratory insufficiency, which is a fancy was of saying i can barely breathe anymore and i am required to be on oxygen.
I am not a wealthy man nor do I come from a wealthy family. My only source of income is from Social Security Disability. The US government has seen fit to provide me $14 per month in food assistance. Yes, you read that right: $14. People that know me know that asking for help from others is not something I do lightly. In fact, I avoid asking anyone for anything.
The Virginia case is set for trial to begin on October 7th. My attorney advises me that it could take 2-3 weeks to complete. The US Marshal Service is required to pay for my flight to and from court. How nice of them, huh?
I am forced to provide for my own lodging, food, travel to and from the courthouse, my medications and I also will need oxygen in both forms: oxygen at my motel and a source of portable oxygen for use when away from my room. I also have to make arrangements for someone to look after my mother during this time. The amount of money required to cover these expenses is way beyond my meager resources.
It is clear to me that the US government is trying to make an example out of me; to deter others from speaking out in any form against abuses by the government and the private corporations that are their true masters.
So I am now asking you, the people reading this and indeed everyone who sees this as a violation of my rights to free speech to aid me in my fight against these charges both in Virginia and in California. I also ask you to make these donations no matter how small to Freeanons and they will distribute them to me as needed. My case is far from over as any rulings in either case can adversely affect the other.
I promise that any funds unused or unneeded by myself would be retained by Freeanons for use by other defendants who are in similar circumstances or returned to the donor as per their request.
I foresee more cases to be filed against me from another jurisdiction so I believe that for me, at least this ordeal is not over.
I extend my gratitude to all who are reading and considering my request and many thanks to those who do donate.
Dennis Owen Collins