A U.K. man has become the first of a group of 11 defendants to plead guilty in a case relating to the use of iTunes and stolen or fraudulent credit cards to steal royalty fees. 19-year-old Lamar Johnson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud, according to a BBC report. Johnson was among a group of musicians who provided 19 songs to US-based distributor Tunecore, which uploaded the songs to iTunes and Amazon for sale. Once online, the group then opened accounts with stolen or cloned U.S. and U.K. credit cards to purchase their albums, with Apple and Amazon paying out roughly $300,000 in royalties over the next few months. In addition, the added sales boosted the chart rankings of the songs, resulting in even more sales and increased royalties for the DJs. At least nine of the defendants were arrested in June 2009 after allegedly downloading the songs 6,000 times from 2008 to 2009. Johnson, who admitted to being responsible for roughly 2,000 of the purchases, is currently serving a five-year prison term for an unrelated offense; the rest of the defendants are expected to appear in the same court in January.
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