Dad sold tickling sticks on Facebook and boasted ‘don’t go with amateurs’

The father made a small fortune flogging shady deals online to fund his gambling addiction.

Kevin O’Donnell, of Altcross Road, Croxteth, sold modified fire sticks to illegally stream subscription-based content between September 2020 and March 2023. He was caught after FACT, the anti-copyright theft federation, received intelligence about the device being sold providing unauthorized access to premium sport, TV shows and movies owned by Sky and BT.

On 3 May 2022, the organization began investigating a Facebook profile for «Kev O’James», who advertised the sale of subscription packages up to £85 on Amazon fire sticks or remotely on smart devices. The page said: “Don’t go with amateurs who have been selling for a few months. Come with us, we have been selling for many years».

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The Facebook account was linked to O’Donnell’s personal account, and both accounts were found to be run by the same person.

FACT officials then prompted a trial purchase from O’James’ account, paying £40 to a PayPal address for a 12-month subscription package. An investigation into the purchase confirmed that an illegal streaming service gave customers access to Sky and BT content.

In the six months between February and August 2022, FACT found that 574 transactions were made to the PayPal account, totaling £136,000. A further inspection in July 2023 found that both Facebook accounts were still operating and still promoting the sale of suspicious fire sticks.

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