A Londonderry man has been handed a four-year sentence – of which half will be spent in custody – as a result of an online piracy operation he ran from his bedroom at his parents' house between 2008 and 2013.
Paul Mahoney, 29, of Carnhill, made almost £300,000 in advertising revenue, which was generated across a series of sites, including BedroomMedia.com and FastPassTV.
Mahoney pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud the film industry and two counts of money laundering at Londonderry Crown Court on 25 August.
Sentencing him today, Judge Babington told Mahoney: "Criminal conduct of this nature must be deterred and there is no alternative but that this court impose immediate sentences of imprisonment so as to show that behaviour of this nature does not go unpunished."
The prosecution's David Groome QC estimated the sites would have caused more than £120m of losses to the film industry "if each of the persons viewing a film had watched it at the cinema or bought a DVD".
More reasonably, the QC noted that not every person who viewed pirated material on Mahoney's websites would necessarily have paid to view that material, and therefore the actual loss was valued at approximately £12m.
Mahoney – who is single and lived at home with his mother and stepfather – had not worked since leaving school. He suffered from congential albinism which left him "partially sighted", according to the summary judgement in the case.
One count of money laundering relates to £292,500, which was credited to his bank account, including £280,000 in advertising revenue and £12,500 in unemployment benefit. The other relates to £82,390 in cash, which was discovered during a search of his home.
The judge said he did not know whether money was a motivation for Mahoney, as he "did not exhibit any of the features of a lavish lifestyle and his spending was concerned only with paying employees, running the site and accessing adult websites". ®