Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

William De LORENZO - Illegal pay TV scam

General Prosecutions

On 12 April 2017, William De Lorenzo was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court to 15 months’ jail for masterminding a scheme that allowed hundreds of Victorian homeowners to illegally access pay TV service Foxtel at a fraction of the price. He is to be released after serving 10 months in jail and entering into a recognisance of $1000, to be of good behaviour for 18 months.

Between November 2011 and February 2015, the Qantas employee masterminded a ‘card sharing’ scheme that used an unauthorised decoder online to allow others to illegally access encoded broadcasts by Foxtel.

The scam involved importing set-top boxes from China, installing new software and connecting them to an internet server operated by De Lorenzo. Two other men, George Haraka and Kamaran Mirkhail, installed and connected the satellite dishes, cabling and set-top boxes for homeowners, whom De Lorenzo charged between $200–$250 for a year’s subscription.

De Lorenzo had approximately 1595 customers and earned a significant amount on installations alone across the period of the charges. 

De Lorenzo was arrested following an investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) into Haidar Al Baghdadi in 2013, who was alleged to have operated a card sharing Pay TV piracy network broadcasting Foxtel in Sydney. Analysis of his mobile phone showed he had communicated with De Lorenzo. 

On 5 February 2015, AFP members searched De Lorenzo’s house and arrested him.

On 17 May 2016, Haraka and Mirkhail were convicted and placed on two-year Community Correction Orders with supervision conditions.

Charge / Sentence

On 12 April 2017, De Lorenzo was sentenced to 15 months’ jail to be released after serving 10 months and entering into a recognisance of $1000, to be of good behaviour for 18 months, in relation to:

  • 1 count of making an unauthorised decoder contrary to section 135ASG(1) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) between 9/2/14-5/2/15
  • 1 count of causing unauthorised access to encoded broadcast by way of trade, contrary to section 135ASJ(1) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) between 01/11/11-05/02/15.

Defence Appeal

On 11 September 2017 the Appeal was granted.  Mr De Lorenzo was re-sentenced to time served (164 days) and to be released on a RRO for 18 months – appeal decision