Man sentenced in TV card sharing fraud

Gavin Gray, 25, was sentenced today, Monday 6th March 2017 at Hamilton Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to four charges of fraud and offences under the Copyright Designs Patents Act 1988.

Following a multi-agency operation involving Police Scotland, FACT, Sky, Virgin Media and other agencies in 2014, Gavin Gray was arrested for fraudulent activity in what is commonly known in the industry as ‘card sharing’.

This is the first conviction of its type in Scotland. This cyber-enabled crime allows protected encrypted television broadcasts to be viewed without a valid subscription to the broadcast provider.

Gray advertised his criminal business on dedicated card sharing websites and forums, supplying unlawful access to homes across Scotland.

When officers searched his home in Mossend, Belshill they seized £44,500 hidden in a safe in the loft. Police were also able to later seize £80,000 from his bank account.

Chief Inspector Mark Leonard, the lead for counterfeit and intellectual property for Police Scotland said, “Officers conducted an operation in conjunction with a number of agencies including FACT at the home address of Gavin Gray where they seized computer equipment and large sums of cash.

“The subsequent investigation revealed that Mr Gray was the lynchpin in large-scale, organised illegal activity known in the industry as ‘card sharing’ with clients across the UK and internationally, serviced by his online website from his Bellshill base.

“This activity allows people to electronically purchase command lines to data held on computer servers that provides them with access to premium digital broadcast channels.

“Although people may think that this will have little impact on major broadcasters, make no mistake, the amount of money being lost is on a large scale.

“It’s obviously very tempting for people to think they are getting a bargain but it’s important to remember that there are organised criminals behind these fraudulent schemes, often supporting and funding other more serious crime, such as human trafficking and drugs, so people need to be aware of that. Purchasing a ‘so called bargain’ may lead to a visit from the police at your door so think twice before saying yes.

“Officers working at the Scottish Crime Campus and the Scottish Anti Illicit Trade Group (SAITG) recognise that organised criminals are diversifying into products and commodities where there is perceived less risk. Police Scotland will continue to work in partnership with private industry and specialists to deter global crime trends that are harming our communities.”

Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT said “Whether it’s card sharing or IPTV set-top boxes, allowing access to premium pay-for TV without the proper licence is illegal.

“FACT takes this criminality very seriously and will continue to work with Police Scotland and our members including BT Sport, the Premier League, Sky and Virgin Media to ensure that this illegal activity is disrupted.”

Related News

News Partnerships

Illicit streaming devices pose electrical risk to users

A series of product safety tests on popular illicit streaming devices entering the UK have found that 100% fail to meet national electrical safety regulations. The findings are a result of a joint initiative between FACT and Electrical Safety First which examined the electrical safety of a number of devices.

News Prosecutions

Man ordered to pay £16,000 for illegally streaming Sky Sports

On Monday 23 October 2017 a judgment was obtained in the High Court against a Sky customer who had been streaming Sky Sports content illegally online. Mr Yusuf Mohammed, of Bristol, has been ordered to pay legal costs of over £16,000, and to disclose details about the money he made and people he colluded with.  … Continued

News Partnerships Prosecutions

Two men sentenced for selling illegal streaming devices

Two men have been sentenced at Teesside Crown Court after pleading guilty to charges relating to the sale of IPTV boxes which allowed people to illegally stream subscription content, infringing the rights of copyright holders. The convictions follow an investigation led by National Trading Standards. Julian Allen, who pleaded guilty on 31 July 2017, received … Continued

News Prosecutions

Licensees in Merseyside and Rochdale Ordered to Pay More Than £39,000 for Illegal Sky Use

Six licensees have been found guilty of dishonest reception of a television transmission by showing Sky Sports to customers without a commercial agreement from Sky. In the first of three cases, Janet Ferguson, Lisa Kaye and Arnold Martin of The Mayflower[1] in Bootle, Merseyside, were found guilty in their absence of six offences and were … Continued