An Australian man has been arrested for allegedly selling stolen login information to one million Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify accounts. The man, a twenty-one year old IT professional, pocketed over $200,000 in sales before being arrested by the Australian FBI. He allegedly accessed the stolen login information on the Dark Web through a process called credential stuffing. Some of the victims are located in the United States. He now faces charges for a variety of cyber crimes in addition to identity theft.
While theft on this scale is unusual, criminal defense attorney Steve Karimi discusses the theft of television services, a common criminal charge in Washington. He also provides information about the potential defenses that exist for those who have been wrongfully accused of stealing satellite or cable services.
Theft of Television Services
In Washington, it's a gross misdemeanor crime to steal subscription television services. Chapter 9A.56 RCW defines subscription television services as cable or encrypted video and related audio and data services intended for viewing on a home television by authorized members of the public who have agreed to pay a fee for the service. The person charged must have acted with the intent to avoid paying for the cable or internet service. The most common example of theft of television services would be a person who intercepts their neighbor's satellite signal or cable account to avoid having to purchase the services themselves.
The state also outlaws the unlawful sale of subscription television services. It's a class C felony to sell cable or data plans and devices or kits used to receive data or cable transmissions.
In addition to fines and penalties, a person convicted of the theft of cable or similar services may face a civil lawsuit. If the victim of the theft incurs financial damages, such as an increased usage fine on their cable bill, the individual may file a lawsuit in superior court to recover their costs.
Theft Criminal Defenses in Washington
To be convicted of a theft crime, a person must have the intent to deprive another person of their property or services. Because intent can be a difficult element for prosecutors to prove, lack of intent is a common defense raised by attorneys in cases involving theft charges. Intent requires evidence to prove that the accused acted purposefully and knowingly, meaning that they had awareness of their actions. Evidence that an individual was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or was suffering from a mental illness at the time of the theft can negate that they had the intent necessary for a conviction.
Contact The Law Offices of Steve Karimi in Seattle
If you've been charged with the crime of theft of television services in the Seattle area or throughout Washington, it's important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Attorney Karimi will work to defend your rights against criminal charges. Contact our office 24 hours a day by calling 206-660-6200 or fill out our online case evaluation form.