Web designer who sold 24,000 gadgets for £100 to let viewers watch pay TV for free costs £14m jailed for two and a half years
- Total sales for Halton Powell, 44, of Hornchurch, Essex were £2,344,949
- Powell sold 24,515 set-top boxes through eBay, his website and retail stores
- In 2015, Sky investigators went undercover to buy a device at a store in Chingford
A web designer has been jailed for two and a half years for selling a gadget that allowed viewers to access the channel for free for up to £14m.
Halton Powell, 44, from Hornchurch, Essex, sold at least 24,000 of them for around £100 each between December 2014 and March 2016 through eBay, his website and retail stores set-top box.
In April 2015, Sky investigators went undercover to buy a device at a store in Chingford, and Powell was subsequently arrested.
Halton Powell, 44, of Hornchurch, Essex, sold at least 24,000 set-top boxes for around £100
Police seized 1,300 set-top boxes from one storage unit and another 121 from Powell’s store.
A review of Powell’s bank accounts revealed he made a total of £2,344,949 from the market selling 24,515 set-top boxes.
Tim Devlin, prosecuting, told Southwark Crown Court: “He was not an innocent shopkeeper.
“It was a group of people working in a shop for a while. Lots of articles provided.
“In the end, millions of pounds that should have been paid to Sky were not paid.”
At first, Powell tried to blame others, telling police: “I deny all the allegations against me.
Powell was arrested after Sky investigators went undercover to buy a device at a Chingford store in April 2015
“The site was created by our web designers.”
Philip Misner, who defended, said: “This is not a fraud on the little old lady. There is no vulnerability-based victim targeting.
Judge Dafner Spiro told Powell: “Set-top boxes allow people to watch Sky and Disney Plus without paying any of these companies.
“It’s been calculated that Sky will pay around £14m. You’re trying to blame others.
Powell pleaded guilty to supplying items for use in fraud between December 31, 2014 and March 14, 2016, and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
The date for the forfeiture proceedings will be set for May 19.