Gangsters Score 'Madonna-level' Royalties By Buying Their Music On iTunes With Stolen Credit Cards

03.30.12 6 years ago

Is it possible for the something to be the most brilliant thing AND the most stupid thing you’ve ever heard of at the same time? Because I think this thing that a UK-based criminal enterprise did qualifies on both fronts. Brilliantly stupid, perhaps? Stupidly brilliant?

Anyway, the plan went like this:

1. Upload some music to iTunes for sale to the general public.

2. Steal credit card data on a grand scale.

3. Use the stolen credit card data to buy the aforementioned music from iTunes.

4. Get rich by collecting royalties on the music sales.

Brilliant, right? Or maybe stupid? BOTH!!!

Reports the BBC:

Ringleader Craig Anderson, 24, of Edwin Road, Dartford, Kent, bought 24 identical laptops, obtained thousands of stolen or compromised credit card details and then recruited helpers to log in and buy songs to generate royalties.

The group attempted to avoid detection by limiting each purchase to less than £10.

The court heard the scam, which ran between January 2008 and June 2009, generated £500,000 but caused losses to iTunes and Amazon of between £750,000 and £1m.

The prosecution said iTunes investigated after realising “they were paying royalties to what appeared to be utterly unknown artists in the Wolverhampton area at a rate they expect to pay to someone like Madonna”.

If you’re wondering what the Biggie/Cat gif has to do with this story the answer is absolutely nothing. I’ve just been dying to post it all week and finally couldn’t take it anymore so I used it in this post. Deal with it.

(GIF via Art Yucko)

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