(Reuters) - Three operators of a pirate streaming organisation which provided illegal access to Premier League soccer games to more than 1,000 pubs, clubs and homes in England and Wales over the last decade have been jailed for a total of 17 years.
Steven King, who masterminded the fraud while trading under the names Dreambox (unincorporated), Dreambox TV Limited, and Digital Switchover Limited, was handed the biggest sentence of seven years and four months in jail.
Paul Rolston was sentenced to six years and four months while Daniel Malone was given three years and three months by Warwick Crown Court in central England after a four-week trial.
“The fraudulent companies earned in excess of 5 million pounds ($6.6 million) through their illegal activity,” the Premier League said in a statement.
The Premier League is eager to prevent illegal streaming to help protect the value of broadcast rights for media companies such as Sky and BT.
Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb said that the sentences reflected the seriousness of the crime.
“Using these services is unlawful and fans should be aware that when they do so they enter into agreements with illegal businesses,” he added.
“They also risk being victims of fraud or identity theft by handing over personal data and financial details.” ($1 = 0.7611 pounds)
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir