UK: eBay seller of illicit TV boxes receives two-year sentence

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Westminster City Council’s Trading Standards team began an investigation into a local resident in 2017 after it was alleged he had been selling IPTV devices on eBay for more than a year.  As part of their investigation, officers covertly purchased three of these devices retailing at £150-£250.

FACT, the UK-based Federation Against Copyright Theft, provided intelligence on the individual’s internet activity and confirmed that they enabled buyers to view beIN Sports and film content without permission of their respective rights’ holders.

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A raid was undertaken on the suspect’s home address, assisted by FACT and the National Crime Agency, which resulted in the suspect’s arrest and further devices being found at the premises. Investigating officers, working closely with eBay, established the defendant had sold 628 devices for more than £82,000.

The individual, Fuaad Al-Saegh, received a two-year custodial sentence, suspended for two years, at Southwark Crown Court on November 5, 2021.

Read FACT’s press release

Why it matters

The loss of revenue for broadcasters and distributors from the sale of these illicit devices is estimated to be millions of pounds.  Proceeds are often used by organised crime groups to fund more serious crime.  Such devices pose both physical and online risks, by being electrically unsafe and by stealing a user’s personal data through malware.

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