POLICE made 12 arrests in an investigation into a suspect subscription TV channel and video on demand operation with some 20,000 customers in Spain and abroad.
Police reported the arrests were the result of the Cybercrime Central Unit’s active patrol of social media which detected a Facebook page with 1,700 followers offering the services illegally.
The authorities closed down seven websites and two social media profiles promoting the offers. Police also seized 86 TV signal decoders, 15 hard discs, 10 computers, two servers, 17 mobile phones, a top-of-the-range vehicle and nearly €23,000 in cash.
Police said the group had managed to get hold of signals emitted by the main subscription TV platforms, then fraudulently uploaded said signals to different companies’ overseas servers. At the same time they were marketing their offer and giving customers access to content held on the servers at prices well below market rates, using software for hosting channel lists and access guides.
According to police four of the detainees were responsible for obtaining the television signals and for the subsequent unauthorised broadcast, as well as advertising the service, capturing clients, managing their access to the service and gaining payments.
A second tier of the structure was made up of eight ‘re-sellers’ whose main job was to get hold of top level services at a reduced price based on a high buying volume to later market to clients.
Police estimate the group could have made a profit of more than €1 million with a technical support investment of €70,000.
The detentions were the result of two years’ of investigations, which also involved searches of 13 properties in Madrid, Toledo, La Rioja, Avila, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Alicante, Murcia, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Valladolid.