Sky TV Amazon Fire stick scammer fined
A man who cheated Sky out of almost £50,000 by selling hacked TV technology has been fined.
Ryan Jackson, 30, of Gaufron, Rhayader, was caught via his Facebook page during a joint investigation by Powys County Council and Sky which scoured social media and eBay for illegal activity.
Jackson admitted four charges when he appeared at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates' Court.
He was fined £1,340 plus £4,070 costs and a £34 surcharge.
The father of two was advertising adapted Amazon Fire TV sticks, Amazon set-top boxes and a hacked internet protocol TV service, which delivers content via internet networks.
Jackson sold them for about £100, which gave his customers premium Sky content including movies, sports and pay-per-view events.
He also offered subscription services including Netflix and Spotify.
He pleaded guilty to three charges of providing or selling devices adapted to circumvent technological measures and one charge of breach of copyright with the intention of financial gain.
A Sky investigator, David Ferguson, made a test purchase and was sent a "fully loaded" stick for £105.
The court heard between January 2016 and August 2018, Jackson made a profit of between £840 and £2,500, but the cost in terms of losses to Sky was about £50,000.
Robert Brown, prosecuting, said Jackson had found a way on the internet to obtain Sky easily and decided to offer it himself.
"He used social media to advertise and initially provided the service to friends, then friends of friends, and it snowballed from there."
Gareth Walters, defending, described the scam as "an amateur operation from the very beginning", and said Jackson had spent time off work with chronic back pain.
"He is very intelligent, but he put his knowledge to bad use rather than good," Mr Walters said.
"He wanted to get free Sky for himself, found out on YouTube tutorials how to do it, and saw an opportunity to make some money."
Sentencing Jackson, magistrate Ingrid Gallagher said: "It was not an intelligent thing to do. You are paying much more than you made."