Two men have been sentenced at St Albans Crown Court after being found guilty of selling television devices which enable access to paid for services dishonestly.
Thomas Tewelde from Acton, West London and Mohamed Abdou from Tonbridge, Kings Cross have each been sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. They must pay £1000 in costs and have been ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of selling black box TV devices. The devices, also known as Kodiboxes, were sold by the pair at Bovingdon Market, Hemel Hempstead, in July 2017.
Colin Woodward, Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “The Judge’s sentence clearly reflects the seriousness with which he regards the safety and fraudulent aspects of this case. The outcome should be a deterrent for others thinking of doing similar.
“We’re keen to support the growth of the creative industries which is significant in Hertfordshire. The sale of these boxes which allowed free access to copyrighted material, puts this industry and Hertfordshire jobs at risk.”
During sentencing, the Judge commented: “This is not a victimless crime, every legitimate subscriber is a victim. It may not be possible to calculate loss but it will be significant given the usual charge for services, number of devices, and period over which the enterprise appears to have operated. Another serious factor is that components were unsafe. It is clear that immediate prison sentences are justified for this type of offences.”
FACT CEO, Kieron Sharp says: “This sentence shows that if you are involved in the sale of illicit devices you can receive a criminal conviction for fraud that will have a detrimental effect on your life.
We urge consumers to remain mindful of counterfeits and illicit goods being sold at markets as many illicit streaming devices have failed to meet UK safety standards, potentially risking the lives of loved ones if installed in the home. We encourage people to use legitimate devices and services as it’s simply not worth the risk.
We thank Hertfordshire Trading Standards for their work on this case and FACT will continue to work with industry to crackdown on the sellers of counterfeit and unsafe, illegal devices.”
The Real Deal Charter is committed to preventing counterfeits and consumers can check markets that have signed up to the charter by visiting their website.
If you come across any content that doesn’t look legitimate, Crimestoppers makes it easy for you to report it. Contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or filling out their online form.