Mahesh Tailor, a Leicester man, has been jailed for six years for engineering a scam which let thousands of viewers watch Virgin for free. The fraud took place between 2008 and 2012 and cost Virgin an estimated £60m.
Tailor, with the help of five others between the ages 36-56, bypassed the encryption system that protects Virgin’s cable TV channels. He imported thousands of Virgin boxes from China and Korea then sold them for £180 each and in bulk to businesses all around England.
Leicestershire Police found £250,000 in cash during a raid on Mahesh’s home. They also recovered 5000 set-top boxes. Detective Constable Amrat Bhagwan said:
“Officers were deployed at various locations across the country and the network was taken down, rendering the boxes useless.
“When we raided Tailor’s home, we found £250,000 in cash in various rooms. There were similar amounts held in his business bank accounts.
“The boxes were imported from the Far East and documentation showed that Tailor claimed that they were satellite receivers and even paid importation tax on them. He did everything in his power to stop himself appearing on the radar.”
According to prosecutor Martin Hurt, Mahesh’s scam was a national service as he organised people from all around the UK to create a server network. The network used overseas servers to provide the illegal set-top boxes with Virgin Media channels, thereby bypassing subscription and pay.
Tailor, the owner of a printed circuit board manufacturing company, plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud.