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British Gang Nets £500,000 in iTunes Royalties Scam

By - Source: BBC | B 18 comments

Several members of a cyber crime ring that scammed iTunes out of hundreds of thousands of pounds have been jailed.

Newly released court documents detail the story of a group of people who scammed digital music service iTunes out of hundreds of thousands of pounds. The BBC reports that the 11-strong gang earned over £500,000 (more than $800,000) by purchasing their own music from iTunes with stolen credit cards. The gang was sentenced last year but the story has been protected by court order until now.

According to the BBC, the scheme was carried out with 24 laptops purchased by the group's ringleader. The gang then enlisted the help of others who used the details of thousands of stolen credit cards to purchase the group's music on iTunes. The scam ran for 18 months in total, from January 2008 to June 2009, and the gang limited transactions to £10 in an attempt to avoid attracting unwanted attention.

However, it seems the group didn't consider the fact that many, many small transactions can add up to a fairly substantial total. The BBC reports that the group was busted when iTunes realised it was paying out Madonna levels of royalties to unknown musicians in Wolverhampton, in the West Midlands. It's estimated that though the scam generated £500,000, it resulted in losses of between £750,000 and £1m for iTunes and Amazon (between $1.2 million and $1.5 million). 

Five members of the gang were given community service, while one was sent to a young offenders institution. The remaining five were given jail sentences of varying lengths. Ringleader Craig Anderson was sentenced to four years and eight months, while the rest were sentenced to two years each.

Further Reading

BBC: iTunes scam gang netted 'Madonna-level' royalties

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  • 15 Hide
    shardey , March 31, 2012 1:31 PM
    They received very light sentences for stealing credit cards and using them.
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    shardey , March 31, 2012 1:31 PM
    They received very light sentences for stealing credit cards and using them.
  • 6 Hide
    Dacatak_08 , March 31, 2012 2:51 PM
    The question remains: Which database(s) was/were hacked to obtain those thousands of credit cards worth of information?
  • -5 Hide
    brythespy , March 31, 2012 3:36 PM
    British gangs, Wtf? Watchout! They gonna make you drink tea if you don't give them monay.
  • 5 Hide
    LORD_ORION , March 31, 2012 3:42 PM
    brythespyBritish gangs, Wtf? Watchout! They gonna make you drink tea if you don't give them monay.


    Riiight..... home of the real skin heads and real punk gangs.... walk down a back alley and keep thinking you are going to get the tea treatment....
  • -2 Hide
    danhitchcock , March 31, 2012 3:43 PM
    wow... Pretty sure in the good ol' USA, they would have been executed.
  • 2 Hide
    AznCracker , March 31, 2012 3:48 PM
    Odd, I imagined gangs as people who deals drugs or something.
  • -2 Hide
    A Bad Day , March 31, 2012 4:44 PM
    shardeyThey received very light sentences for stealing credit cards and using them.


    I would've preferred the case to be settled in a civil than a criminal court, if it occurred in the US.

    Yes, they get away with a clean criminal record.

    But they're going to get hit with a large class-action lawsuit that requires an expensive lawyer to handle. At the end, their entire scam operation would've ended in a $1+ million loss.
  • -2 Hide
    xerroz , March 31, 2012 4:47 PM
    Why aren't the Apple CEOs in jail for scamming people?
  • 1 Hide
    shardey , March 31, 2012 4:57 PM
    xerrozWhy aren't the Apple CEOs in jail for scamming people?


    Why aren't you in jail for being an idiot?
  • 1 Hide
    freggo , March 31, 2012 5:23 PM
    Clearly not enough of a 'sentence'.
  • 2 Hide
    buckcm , March 31, 2012 6:55 PM
    That isn't very much money for 11 gang members taking almost 1.5 years.
  • 3 Hide
    derekullo , March 31, 2012 7:10 PM
    I don't know whether to feel bad about the peoples whose credit card got stolen. Or happy that some one stole from Apple. I guess every cloud has it's silver lining.
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , March 31, 2012 10:33 PM
    cops in america dont care unless the total stolen is over 150$
    the got such a light sentence because it was presumably less than 50$ a creditcard, probably only 20.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , March 31, 2012 11:10 PM
    Money laundering via MP3 sales...interesting.
  • 1 Hide
    uruquiora , April 2, 2012 9:58 AM
    what do i have to do to get one year jail now ffs ? kill someone ??
    pff as if that is gonna punish them...
  • 1 Hide
    onanonanon , April 2, 2012 1:20 PM
    A Bad DayI would've preferred the case to be settled in a civil than a criminal court, if it occurred in the US.Yes, they get away with a clean criminal record.But they're going to get hit with a large class-action lawsuit that requires an expensive lawyer to handle. At the end, their entire scam operation would've ended in a $1+ million loss.

    Which they wouldn't have been able to pay anyway so what would have been the point?
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 2, 2012 4:15 PM
    For stealing that much money, they should be forced to work it all off at prison pay.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , April 2, 2012 5:07 PM
    That sentence is actually pretty reasonable. The organizers received a few years in prison for a non-violent crime. Cyber theft isn't exactly rape/murder/armed-robbery so you shouldn't be getting 10+ years for it. Hopefully a few years will help to rehabilitate these criminals and not just harden them.