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Fraudster jailed for running illegal football website

A man who created a website which illegally streamed live Premiership football matches over the internet has been sent to prison for two years.

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Kevin Broughton developed and ran a subscription site from his home in Sheffield, charging an estimated 10,000 customers up to £29.99 a season to watch live Premiership football matches.

In fact he was illegally relaying matches that were being originally broadcast by satellite TV company Sky. His operation breached Sky’s exclusive rights to show the games.

FA Premier League officials lodged a complaint about the website with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) in January 2012, sparking the investigation which lead to the prosecution of 30-year-old Broughton, who deposited some of the cash he made in overseas bank accounts.

An investigation concluded that he provided false identity details to Sky and took out a number of subscriptions with the intention of infringing the company’s intellectual property rights.

Made over £500,000 from the fraud

Expert financial investigators from the East Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team found Broughton had made more than £500,000 between 2010 and August 2012. He was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court having pleaded guilty to offences of fraud.

Kieron Sharp, FACT director general, said: “This case conclusively shows criminals are 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.”

Rachel Haywood, of EMRART, said: “Broughton’s crime made a significant difference to his income in a very short period of time. He 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 Belize, to launder his proceeds.”

For further information please visit the City of London Police website.

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To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

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