A Sheffield man who raked in half a million pounds by running an illegal website which screened live Premiership football matches over the internet has been jailed for two years.
Kevin Broughton, aged 30, created the site which charged an estimated 10,000 customers £29.99 a season to watch matches being screened by Sky.
The operation breached Sky’s exclusive rights to show the games.
Broughton, of Tummon Road, Manor, admitted fraud and copyright offences at Sheffield Crown Court.
The court heard FA Premier League officials lodged a complaint about the website with the Federation Against Copyright Theft in January 2012, sparking the investigation which led to his prosecution.
He deposited some of the cash he made in overseas bank accounts.
Investigators found Broughton provided false identity details to Sky and took out a number of subscriptions with the intention of infringing the company’s intellectual property rights.
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.”
Expert financial investigators from the East Midlands Regional Asset Recovery Team found Broughton had raked in more than £500,000 between 2010 and August 2012.
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.”