Gang members sentenced over Apple and Amazon fraud

Three people have been sentenced for participating in a massive online music fraud, in which the gang uploaded music to iTunes and Amazon before using compromised cards to buy it back in large volumes.At Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, James Batchelor was jailed for two years, Siobhan Clarke was given an eight-month suspended sentence and 150 hours' unpaid work, and Colton Johnson was order to undertake 80 hours' unpaid work.

Three people have been sentenced for participating in a massive online music fraud, in which the gang uploaded music to iTunes and Amazon before using compromised cards to buy it back in large volumes.

At Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, James Batchelor was jailed for two years, Siobhan Clarke was given an eight-month suspended sentence and 150 hours' unpaid work, and Colton Johnson was order to undertake 80 hours' unpaid work. The sentencings were the last to take place in connection with the fraud, which has already seen 11 other people convicted and sentenced.

Craig Anderson

Gang leader Craig Anderson had already been sentenced for his part in a massive online music fraud. Image credit: Met Police

The fraud cost Apple and Amazon somewhere in the region of £1m, the Met said. The members of the gang were originally arrested in 2009 following a joint operation between the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) and the New York Police Department.

"Inquiries by detectives identified that the defendants utilised three online music management companies to upload UK-produced urban music albums and tracks for sale on Apple iTunes and Amazon.com," the Met said in a statement.

Once the music had been put up for sale, gang leader Craig Anderson "acquired thousands of compromised US and UK credit cards which were supplied to a number of individuals who in turn used these cards to make over 500,000 online purchases of the music", the Met explained.

The gang's undoing appears to have been the scale at which they operated. Apple and the music distribution service Tunecore.com became suspicious after the uploaded music generated the level of sales one might expect to see from a major recording artist.

According to the Met, the fraudulent transactions "generated £500,000 in royalty payments; £300,000 of which was paid via the three music distribution companies to the bank and PayPal accounts of nominated UK individuals".