Jail terms for dodgy football streaming salesmen are warning to others
After releasing mugshots of the pair for the first time, the boss of one of the organisations behind the prosecution said the four-and-a-half year sentences were a “clear message” that the rights of legitimate businesses and consumers would be protected.
Jason Graham, 45, of Front Street, East Boldon, and John Dodds, 65, of Stainton Road, Seamer, near Scarborough, both admitted conspiracy to defraud at Newcastle Crown Court earlier this week.
Graham, also known as Richards, also pleaded guilty to perverting the cause of justice after hiding evidence in his freezer as investigators closed in on him.
Together they sold an illegal satellite and streaming service to more than 270 pubs and clubs across the North East.
This allowed their clients to broadcast Premier League football, boxing bouts and other sporting events for a fraction of the thousands of pounds paid monthly to legitimate providers.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the pair netted more than Â£1.5million while household names such as Sky and BT lost “many multiples of that sum” in revenue between 2009-16.
The prosecution was brought by the Premier League with backing from a range of organisations.
Partners included National Trading Standards, whose chairman, Lord Toby Harris, said: “These sentences send a clear message that National Trading Standards will use the full extent of the law to protect legitimate businesses and their intellectual property rights.
“Mr Dodds and Mr Richards broke the law to enrich themselves, defrauding legitimate businesses of huge sums of money and also leaving consumers with products that didn’t work.
“The sale of Kodi-style boxes which allow access to premium and subscription content, in breach of the copyright of rights holders, is illegal and National Trading Standards will not hesitate to take action against individuals and companies that participate in such practices.”
Dodds started the scam in 2009 with Graham joining three years later.