Published Jun 11, 2009Crime doesn't pay. Well, unless you're a scammy DJ, that is. Following a massive investigation by a joint venture of the FBI and Scotland Yard's Central E-Crime Unit, nine UK DJs have been arrested for allegedly using stolen credit cards to buy their own music via Apple's iTunes and Amazon, which not only gave the tricksters a boost in income but their chart standings as well.
Here's how the scam worked: a group of DJs recorded 19 compilations, put them on the service providers' sites, then downloaded them 65,000 times on accounts set up with stolen cards. Recognizing something was amiss last December, a number of credit card companies warned Apple that the accounts were bogus. That prompted a deeper probe that led to nine people being arrested across the UK yesterday (June 10). They are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. The investigation spanned London and New York.
Various reports have the sum of illegal royalty earnings ranging from between £200,000 to £400,000 (almost $729,000 CDN). The false boost in sales also placed the artists in higher chart ratings, thereby rendering many recent charts null and void.
After the arrests, detective chief inspector Terry Wilson was quoted as stating "This has been a complex investigation to establish what we believe to be an international conspiracy to defraud Apple and Amazon. This investigation, with its national and international dimension, exemplifies why we have set up this national response to e-crime. It shows the success that can be achieved through our close working relationship with the FBI."