Guilty verdict for black box TV fraudsters
Published: 03 Feb 2020
Two men have
been found guilty of selling television devices, which enable access to paid
for services dishonestly, at St Albans Crown Court, on Friday 31 January.
Thomas Tewelde from Acton, West London and Mohamed Abdou from Tonbridge, Kings
Cross, were found guilty of intentionally encouraging consumers to access film
and sport services, without subscription,
by selling black box tv devices, also known as Kodiboxes, at Bovingdon Market, Hemel
Hempstead, in July 2017.
Hertfordshire Trading Standards team carried out a filmed, undercover purchase
from the offenders, which was shown to jurors during the trial, where it was unanimously
determined that the pair had encouraged consumers to obtain services
dishonestly, contrary to the Serious Crime Act 2007 and the Fraud Act 2006.
The jury also found the pair guilty of failing in their duty of care to ensure
that the boxes were electrically safe, after tests commissioned by Hertfordshire
Trading Standards revealed a number of safety issues.
Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “We’re keen to support
the growth of the creative industries which is significant in Hertfordshire. The
sale of these boxes, allowing free access to copyrighted material, puts this
industry and Hertfordshire jobs at risk.
are buying these boxes may not be aware that they too could be committing a
serious act of fraud as well as the associated risk of buying a box, which may
not have been subject to safety checks, as in this case. If the deal appears
too good to be true it likely is.”
Kieron Sharp, Chief Executive of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), said: “The message is very clear; if you
sell a device that provides access to content that is not licensed or owned by
you, you will face a criminal conviction and we thank Hertfordshire Trading
Standards for their work on this case.”
Sentencing will be deferred until Friday 28 February, at St Albans Crown Court.