Published Dec 16, 2010With record sales being what they are, it's getting close to impossible for musicians to earn a living off of royalties alone. This problem is presumably what led a 19-year-old Brit to buy thousands of copies of his own music using stolen credit cards and raking in a whopping £500,000 ($785,749.81) in royalties.
Lamar Johnson, a native of Wolverhampton, UK, posted a number of his songs to Amazon and iTunes. The BBC reports that he and a group of other men then used compromised credit cards to download the songs 6,000 times (how exactly this number of downloads translates into almost $800,000 is unclear). This scam went on from January 2008 to June 2009.
Johnson admitted to being responsible for almost 2,000 of the downloads himself. He is already serving a five-year prison term for grievous bodily harm. He confessed to one count of conspiracy to defraud when his case appeared before Southwark Crown Court in London.
The others involved in the royalty scam are due to appear before the same court on January 25.