Illegal streaming gang jailed for selling cut-price Premier League subscriptions | UK news

Five members of an illegal streaming gang have been jailed for a total of more than 30 years for offering cheap subscriptions for Premier League games to tens of thousands of customers.

The operation made more than £7m from at least 50,000 customers and resellers. Mark Gould, described by the judge as the driving force, was sentenced to 11 years at Chesterfield crown court on Tuesday after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and contempt of court.

Steven Gordon was jailed for five years and nine months for two counts of conspiracy to defraud. Peter Jolley was sentenced to five years and two months for two counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of money laundering after concealing £500,000 in his parents’ bank accounts. The Premier League said Christopher Felvus pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud and was jailed for three years and 11 months.

William Brown, who pleaded not guilty, claimed to have been an undercover informant acting in the interest of law enforcement. But the Premier League said the 33-year-old hacked legitimate customers’ accounts to access and copy streams for them to take the blame if identified by authorities.

“The sentences handed down, which are the longest sentences ever issued for piracy-related crimes, vindicate the efforts made to bring these individuals to justice and reflect the severity and extent of the crimes,” said the Premier League’s lawyer Kevin Plumb.

The streaming organisations – Flawless, Shared VPS and Optimal – also offered global TV channels and on-demand films and shows in addition to live Premier League matches, according to the Premier League, which makes billions of pounds each year from broadcast rights.

Felvus was also convicted of multiple unrelated offences including possessing indecent child imagery. He is currently the subject of another ongoing separate investigation, after being arrested by the Met as he attempted to leave the country.

“This prosecution is another concrete example of the clear links between piracy and wider criminality, a warning we repeatedly make,” said Plumb.

The rare private prosecution comes after three men were prosecuted in 2019 for providing illegal streaming access to more than 1,000 pubs, clubs and homes in England and Wales. They were sentenced for a total of 17 years.

“The Premier League’s substantial financial contribution to the entire football pyramid is made possible through the ability to sell our broadcast rights. We are pleased that through rulings such as this, the courts continue to show that they recognise the importance of safeguarding the Premier League’s rights,” said Plumb.

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