The story of another conviction for a card sharer appeared today in the Daily Mail.
A computer expert tampered with Sky TV boxes to sell pirated packages through eBay, costing the company almost £250,000.
Aron Lees, of Urmston near Manchester, used his coding expertise to hack into boxes and make one account work again and again in a technique called ‘card sharing’ so he could sell cut prices boxes to customers for £110 a time.
He listed the items on his brother Sean’s eBay account and sold more than 300 boxes in less than a year, netting almost £30,000.
The fraud was uncovered after BSkyB investigators posed as a customer to buy a fake box and then tracked down Lees’ IP address from his computer.
Sky calculated that they would have charged around £700 for each box with subscription for a year – meaning they lost around £590 on each eBay sale. Over 338 transactions were completed between March and December 2013, with a total of £28,176 deposited into qualified mechanic Sean Lees’ bank account.
The company received no money from the sale of the boxes, and would have lost around £236,000 over the course of the fraud.
Aron Lees, who made around £3,000 a month from the enterprise, admitted hacking into the boxes and selling them online, contravening the copyright and patents act.
Sentencing him to a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, Judge Timothy Mort said he had used his university education in a ‘good way and bad way.’
Minshull Street Crown Court heard that the frauds took place between March 2013 and December 2013 when police raided Aron Lees’ home.
Jennifer Birch, prosecuting, told Minshull Street Crown Court: ‘From March 2013 an eBay username under slees2012 had made 338 transactions through the sale of decoder boxes, a user name registered to Sean Lees’ home address.
‘In August 2013 BskyB became aware that the username slees2012 was selling satellite equipment that gave access to Sky premium packages without subscription – known as card sharing.
‘This is when a legitimate Sky user has the encryption key stolen which is then shared with decoder boxes over the internet which are then added to the network.’
On December 4 2013, police raided Aron Lees’ home and found dozens of decoder boxes. He admitted the fraud and his computers were seized, which even showed emails between him and customers when they complained that their boxes were malfunctioning.
Ms Birch added: ‘This was a fully-functioning business. Aron Lees was interviewed and made full admissions, he accepted buying the boxes, programming them and selling them on eBay using his brother’s account. He denied he would be charging customers for a renewal as they were sold on the basis of a 12-month package.’
Aron Lees, 29, admitted offering unauthorised decoders for sale contrary to the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Aron Lees used the eBay account belonging to his younger brother Sean to list the hacked Sky boxes and sold more than 300 in less than a year, making around £3,000 a month from the sophisticated fraud
A separate hearing will take place to determine how much money he must pay back from his criminal enterprise.