It's one of the most complex Internet scams we have ever heard of but in the end the people in charge were found out and arrested. The BBC reports that a number of UK residents have been sentenced in a case that involved the group taking royalties from music they owned on iTunes and Amazon's download stores via stolen credit cards.
The leader of this effort, Craig Anderson, reportedly used thousands of illegally obtained credit card numbers and brought in others to purchase the music from the two download stores between January 2008 and June 2009 with those numbers. The gang generated 500,000 pounds in royalties from this effort but it also cost Apple and Amazon between 750,000 and 1 million pounds.
Prosecutors in this case said Apple got involved after noticing that an unknown group of musicians were generating royalties for sales of their music "at a rate they expect to pay to someone like Madonna".
Anderson himself received a sentence of four years and eight months in jail as a result of the court's ruling, which was made in April 2011. The details about the scam were not revealed until this week. Three other people involved received two year jail sentences each. A number of others were given suspended sentences, community service or in one case placed in a young offenders institution for 32 weeks. Two other people were cleared in the case.