The man behind a website that illegally screened live English Premiership football matches has been jailed for two years at Sheffield Crown Court.
Kevin Broughton pleaded guilty to offences of fraud at a hearing in September. Broughton ran the site charging an estimated 10,000 customers up to £29.99 (€35.66) a season to watch matches.
He illegally relayed the matched broadcast by Sky and this breached the satellite company’s exclusive rights to show the games.
The Premier League complained to the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) in January 2012. This led to an investigation by the organisation alongside financial investigators from the East Midlands Police of 30-year-old Broughton, which culminated in his prosecution. Broughton had deposited the cash from subscriptions in an offshore bank account in Belize.
Kieron Sharp, FACT Director General, said the case conclusively showed that criminals were moving online to run sophisticated and profitable illegal operations. “We continue to work to protect our members’ intellectual property and to ensure that they can continue to invest in exciting new ways to watch sports, films and television programmes,” he said.
Rachel Haywood of the East Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team said: “Our element of the investigation found Broughton’s crime made a significant difference to his income in a very short period of time.”
“Broughton quickly developed the size and sophistication of the website, increasing his customer profile and making vast sums of money. He was able to deposit tens of thousands of pounds into an overseas bank account and set up an offshore company registered in the Central American country of Belize, intended to launder his proceed,” she said.