A man who sold illegal devices designed to receive subscription TV channels without paying has been jailed.
It’s estimated that Daniel Aimson of Astley, Greater Manchester, defrauded pay-TV providers of £2 million.
Aimson, who was a serving police officer at the time of the offences, pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to conspiracy to commit fraud. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
A joint investigation was launched in 2017 by Greater Manchester Police and the anti-piracy organisation FACT. It emerged Aimson was managing a company that produced IPTV boxes to view movies and sport content. Alongside this the company sold passes for up to six months viewing.
The pass enabled the viewer to log on to an online portal where paid-for content was available without the need for a physical IPTV device.
Police were able to identify bank accounts linked to the company that had been set-up to conceal the proceeds of the venture. Over a seven-month period between January to August 2017, the turnover for just one of the accounts linked to the company was in excess of £300,000, none of which was declared to HMRC. Further analysis of the account revealed that between September 2016 and May 2017, approximately 1,640 illicit IPTV devices were sold.
Detective Constable Paul Bayliss of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Aimson was making enormous amounts of money from what he knew to be an illegal activity. He was a police employee with a good career. That is now in tatters and he’s facing a lengthy prison sentence during which to contemplate his foolish and deceitful actions.”
“This result is an excellent example of the serious actions taken against those who provide illicit content through streaming services,” said FACT chief executive Kieron Sharp.
“Individuals are motivated by the financial benefits from providing illegal content, but FACT is leading the way in combatting digital piracy and has worked closely with Greater Manchester Police to hold these suppliers accountable for their actions.”
A satellite TV provider who did a cost analysis of Aimson’s illicit activities deemed that the loss to their company alone was more than £924,000.
The loss to the same satellite TV provider from Aimson’s online portal streaming service was estimated to be £1,200,000.