Two men jailed in multi-million pound Virgin Media fraud

Two men have been jailed for their part in a multi-million pound fraud on Virgin Media.

In August last year eight men were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the media firm. Six were sentenced at the time, but the two remaining defendants were sentenced on Thursday at Leicester Crown Court.

Manish Javahar, 35, of Harrison Road, Leicester pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud Virgin Media and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Bobby Bhairon, 39, from Coventry, was sentenced to 19 months in prison, suspended for two years.

The mastermind behind the fraud was Mahesh Tailor, 51, from Thurnby, Leicester. He was the director and owner of Tailor Made Circuits, who saw a way to get around the encryption surrounding cable TV channels supplied by Virgin Media.

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Tailor imported thousands of set-top boxes from the Far East and sold them for up to £180 each. He created an army of people around the country to assist him so the service could be nationwide, without paying the monthly subscription to Virgin Media.

During the investigation Leicestershire Police seized a container with 5,000 set-top boxes inside and it’s believed that Tailor had already sold multiple similar consignments.

When his home was raided police found £250,000 cash in various rooms, and similar amounts in bank accounts.

Tailor was sentenced to six years in prison and disqualified from being a company director for eight years.

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “Virgin Media has a zero tolerance approach to piracy and we thank Leicestershire Police for continuing to crack down on this criminal activity.”

“Set-top box piracy is not a victimless crime. Piracy represents a threat to Britain’s world-beating creative industries and harms the vast majority of honest, bill-paying customers.”