Guilty verdict for black box TV fraudsters

Two men have been found guilty of selling television devices, which enabled access to paid for services dishonestly, at St Albans Crown Court, on Friday 31 January.

Thomas Tewelde from Acton, West London and Mohamed Abdou from Tonbridge, Kings Cross, were found guilty of intentionally encouraging consumers to access film and sport services, without subscription, by selling black box TV devices, also known as Kodiboxes, at Bovingdon Market, Hemel Hempstead, in July 2017.

Hertfordshire Trading Standards team carried out a filmed, undercover purchase from the offenders, which was shown to jurors during the trial, where it was unanimously determined that the pair had encouraged consumers to obtain services dishonestly, contrary to the Serious Crime Act 2007 and the Fraud Act 2006.

The jury also found the pair guilty of failing in their duty of care to ensure that the boxes were electrically safe, after tests commissioned by Hertfordshire Trading Standards revealed a number of safety issues.

Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “We’re keen to support the growth of the creative industries which is significant in Hertfordshire. The sale of these boxes, allowing free access to copyrighted material, puts this industry and Hertfordshire jobs at risk.

“People who are buying these boxes may not be aware that they too could be committing a serious act of fraud as well as the associated risk of buying a box, which may not have been subject to safety checks, as in this case. If the deal appears too good to be true it likely is.”

Kieron Sharp, Chief Executive of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), said: “The message is very clear; if you sell a device that provides access to content that is not licensed or owned by you, you will face a criminal conviction and we thank Hertfordshire Trading Standards for their work on this case.”

Sentencing will be deferred until Friday 28 February, at St Albans Crown Court.

If you come across any devices that don’t look legitimate, FACT works with Crimestoppers to make it easy for you to report it. Contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or filling out the online form: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information

Related Content

News Prosecutions

Illicit streaming fraudsters jailed

FACT instigated investigation leads to over 10 years total prison sentences  Hampshire County Council Trading Standards and FACT have welcomed a successful outcome in the courts relating to the illegal streaming of copyright material. Following a detailed investigation led by the County Council’s Trading Standards officers working in collaboration with FACT  and National Trading Standards, … Continued

News

IPTV service disrupted as part of illegal streaming crackdown

Worcester Trading Standards officers aided by West Mercia Police, in partnership with FACT and BT, executed a warrant on Tuesday 14 December as part of the continuing fight against illegal streaming. Officers visited two addresses in Worcester and seized a variety of equipment relating to the provision of internet protocol television (IPTV). At the main … Continued

News

Thirty months’ imprisonment for pirate software developer

In what is understood to be the first conviction of its type in the UK, a man who created and built a software package which enabled illegal access to BT Sport, SKY, Netflix and other subscription television content has been sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment. The software package or, ‘build’ he created … Continued

News

Two-year sentence handed down to eBay fraudster

Westminster City Council’s Trading Standards team, working in partnership with FACT, have secured a prosecution against an eBay user who was selling internet protocol television (IPTV) devices online. IPTV devices enable users to access broadcasts, such as sporting events and films, which would otherwise require a paid subscription. Mr Fuaad Al-Saegh, (DOB: 01.03.1964) was handed … Continued