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British Gang Nets £500,000 in iTunes Royalties Scam

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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  • shardey
    They received very light sentences for stealing credit cards and using them.
    Reply
  • Dacatak_08
    The question remains: Which database(s) was/were hacked to obtain those thousands of credit cards worth of information?
    Reply
  • brythespy
    British gangs, Wtf? Watchout! They gonna make you drink tea if you don't give them monay.
    Reply
  • LORD_ORION
    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....
    Reply
  • danhitchcock
    wow... Pretty sure in the good ol' USA, they would have been executed.
    Reply
  • AznCracker
    Odd, I imagined gangs as people who deals drugs or something.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    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.
    Reply
  • xerroz
    Why aren't the Apple CEOs in jail for scamming people?
    Reply
  • shardey
    xerrozWhy aren't the Apple CEOs in jail for scamming people?
    Why aren't you in jail for being an idiot?
    Reply
  • freggo
    Clearly not enough of a 'sentence'.
    Reply