Premier League Sky card crims ordered to cough up nearly £1m

'Intellectual property crime does not pay' says FACT head

Two fraudsters who supplied fake Premier League football broadcast viewing cards to pubs and betting shops have been ordered by a court to stump up nearly £1m.

Simon Hopkins, 48, and Leon Passlow, 59, were jailed for 42 months last August after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud. The two ran a firm called Digicam International Ltd from Bagshot, Surrey, as the BBC reported at the time.

On Friday 30 September at Guildford Crown Court the pair were ordered to pay back £992,947.60 within three months or face up to seven more years behind bars.

Their scam involved obtaining Sky and other viewing cards using false names and addresses and then selling them on to commercial businesses including hotels, pubs and betting shops. They enjoyed lavish lifestyles with the proceeds of their crimes, driving expensive cars and buying thousands of pounds’ worth of jewellery.

The pair were jailed following a prosecution brought by the Premier League, working together with Surrey Police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

After serving his sentence, Passlow, an Australian citizen, will be deported back to Australia.

Kieron Sharp, director-general of FACT, said in a canned quote: “Hopkins and Passlow made hundreds of thousands of pounds through their criminal enterprise, allowing them to live lavish lifestyles and believing they would never get caught. The court has confiscated £992,000 of their criminal funds and the pair are already serving lengthy sentences in prison. This should serve as a strong warning that ultimately intellectual property crime does not pay.”

As the BBC reported last year, the scam was estimated to have cost Sky £591,000. The £992,000 confiscation order is based on what the pair have earned in criminal profits.

Detective Sergeant Chris Rambour of the Surrey Police Economic Crime Unit added to the canned quote, saying: "Confiscation orders are often the final piece of the jigsaw following a conviction and, where applicable, provide for victims to be compensated for their losses.” ®

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