Ilford fraudster’s sentence cut despite costing Virgin Media millions

PUBLISHED: 11:17 08 November 2012

A man who was jailed for his part in a set top box fraud which cost Virgin Media millions, has had his sentence cut by a third.

A man who was jailed for his part in a set top box fraud which cost Virgin Media millions, has had his sentence cut by a third.

Mukundan Pillai, 43, of Nonsuch Close, Hainault, was jailed for six years at Snaresbrook Crown Court after he was convicted in July last year of conspiracy to defraud.

Court of Appeal judges yesterday said he had been too harshly punished in relation to a higher-ranking conspirator and cut the sentence to four years.

Pillai was one of several who were prosecuted for their part in the fraud which allowed television viewers to access Virgin’s channels without paying.

Set top boxes were sold through Rayyonics Limited, which was set up by one of the fraudsters, Munaf Ahmed Zinga, 41, of Plaistow, east London.

The boxes were sold blank and special software was either emailed to customers or posted on the internet for users to download.

Prosecutors said the conspiracy cost Virgin £10 million a month between June 2005 and November 2008, with Rayyonics grossing up to £30 million from sales.

Sentencing him, the crown court judge said the evidence “strongly suggested” that the technical knowledge required was provided by Pillai.

He and Zinga, who was jailed for eight years for the plot, had “combined their undoubted talents in a thoroughly devious and dishonest manner”.

But, appealing, his lawyers argued that the two-year difference between his sentence and Zinga’s did not properly reflect the difference in their roles.

Allowing the appeal, Lady Justice Rafferty, said: “It was clear that the difference in the role between Zinga and Pillai was greater than was reflected in the two years difference in sentence,” she continued.

“In our judgment, a greater distinction could, and we think should, be drawn. We quash the sentence of six years and for it substitute one of four years.”

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