The criminal mastermind of an illegal streaming service that gave users access to Premier League football will need to pay up or spend extra time in jail.
Steven King was behind the pirate streaming operation ‘Dreambox’. He had been previously jailed for seven years and four months in March 2019. At Warwick Crown Court, King was ordered to been ordered to forfeit the proceeds of his criminal activities. He’ll need to pay back almost one million pounds (£963,000) within three months, or face having his prison sentence extended by an additional six years and eight months.
King was one of three operators behind Dreambox, who were jailed for a total of 17 years for conspiracy to defraud; some of the longest sentences ever issued for piracy-related crimes.
The pirates traded under the names of Dreambox (unincorporated), Dreambox TV Limited, and Digital Switchover Limited, as well as under a number of websites. Through their business, more than 1,000 pubs, clubs and homes throughout England and Wales could access Premier League football illegally.
The businesses are not linked to the German company behind Dreambox-branded satellite receivers, nor the official UK digital switchover scheme, which ran from 2008-2012.
The original case was privately prosecuted by the Premier League following a joint investigation with FACT into the service.
Premier League General Counsel Kevin Plumb said:
“This result clearly shows that supplying illegal streams is a criminal offence leading to prison sentences and significant financial consequences. We are pleased the courts have recognised the seriousness of piracy-related crimes and the Premier League has requested all money recovered goes back to public bodies, including law enforcement agencies, to help them continue the fantastic work they do in helping bring people like this to justice.
The vast majority of our fans watch Premier League action via authorised sources but for those who don’t, they must be aware this is not only an illegal activity that can lead to custodial sentences but they also risk becoming victims of hacking and fraud. We will continue to work with law enforcement to tackle piracy of our content and to educate fans on the dangers of watching Premier League matches via unauthorised streams.”