D.A. Vance, City of London Police Announce Arrest of Man on Suspicion of Stealing Music from Award-Winning International Superstars and Selling it for Cryptocurrency

September 13, 2019

Suspected Hacker Arrested in Ipswich, U.K. Today Following Manhattan D.A. Investigation 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and City of London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson today announced the arrest of a suspected hacker for allegedly accessing world-famous recording artists’ websites and cloud-based accounts illegally, stealing unreleased songs, and selling the stolen music in exchange for cryptocurrency. In a coordinated day of action targeting individuals involved with streaming illegally obtained music, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) executed searches of a property in North London, UK, and a property in Ipswich, UK. In Ipswich, a 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of copyright and computer misuse act offences. The property in North London was linked to the investigation, and subject to a police search warrant, following information received by PIPCU from IFPI, the organisation that represents the recording industry worldwide.
The Manhattan D.A.’s Office launched the investigation of this case after receiving referrals from the recording artists’ management companies, identified one of the perpetrators, and helped effectuate today’s arrest through its formal partnership with the City of London Police.
D.A. Vance said: “As one of the world’s leading creative capitals, New York City is dedicated to protecting artists’ intellectual property and ensuring that those who steal it face the music. As demonstrated by this investigation, my Office has the expertise, resources, and partnerships to help cybercrime victims reach across the globe to get justice, and we urge anyone who has been a victim of a hack to report it to us at (212) 335-9600. I thank our extraordinary colleagues at the City of London Police for their strong collaboration on this case and throughout our unique partnership, which has yielded ten major law enforcement actions, including significant indictments related to securities fraud, art schemes, and cybercrime.”
Detective Inspector Nick Court, from the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said: “Today’s action marks a significant point in our investigation into the individuals responsible for stealing music and selling it on illegal streaming websites, worldwide. This sort of crime causes significant financial loss to those who work so incredibly hard to produce, write and make music for their fans to love and enjoy. I am grateful for the support of our partners and colleagues in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and IFPI in this case, which demonstrates the capability of enforcement agencies to work across international borders to disrupt criminal activity and identify those involved so they can be put before the courts.”
Cross-Border Collaboration
Launched in 2014, the Manhattan D.A.’s partnership with the City of London Police features a mutual secondment, or temporary assignment, of investigators in London and Manhattan. The partnership has resulted in more than ten major law enforcement actions, including multiple indictments related to securities fraud, art schemes, and cybercrime. The secondment facilitates interviews of victims and witnesses, coordinates information sharing and access to overseas records, helps identify victims and targets, establishes lines of communication with other foreign law enforcement offices, and enables the execution of search warrants in the UK.
Assistant D.A. James Vinocur, Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, is handling the investigation for the Manhattan D.A.’s Office, under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Elizabeth Roper, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Matthew Winters, Supervising Detective Investigator and International Liaison Officer provided valuable assistance with the case, as did Rackets Investigator George Bishai.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is a specialist national police unit dedicated to protecting the UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime. The operationally independent unit was launched in September 2013 with funding from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The unit is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police, which is the National Policing Lead for Fraud.
IFPI is the organization that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in almost 60 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 56 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.