Glen Cook - a programmer from the north east of England - apparently made £600,000 helping video game pirates. But a judge has given him home detention because Cook is now bankrupt.
Despite telling Cook that "Youíre a criminal and youíre going to feel like one. Youíre going to be punished", Judge Les Spittle (yes, indeed) informed the criminal that, "Iím not going to lock you up in Holme House. Iím going to lock you up in your own home." Hilarious.
According to Gazettelive, Cook, 45, ran the enterprise from his home on Bedale Avenue, Billingham, and the wooden workshop in his garden, said prosecutor Iain MacDonald.
He advertised and supplied the chips via his two websites 'cheapmod' and 'dsstore, and offered the service of fitting them to consoles." These included, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube and Wii.
He was tracked down by Stockton Council Trading Standards and Cleveland Police who found 1,000 chips and more than 200 circuit boards in June 2007.
By his own admission, his illicit trade turned over between £400,000 and £500,000 during the period 2004 to 2007 - he made £160,000 profit. He is now, however, bankrupt.
Dan Gaskell, defending, said Cook accepted responsibility, was frank with the authorities and lost his good character. He said Cook began working on his activity before it was criminalised, unknown to him, in October 2003.
The dad-of-two kept out of trouble for the last three years and worked as a computer programmer. The barrister added that Cook was breadwinner for a struggling household. He is to file for bankruptcy next week.
Summing up, Judge Spittle informed the court, "Sometimes people call these offences white collar crime, perhaps in an attempt to minimise or diminish the seriousness of it. Itís crime. These are serious offences. Thereís actual and potential loss. Others lose by it. I think I can just take the step of not sending you to prison immediately."
He then passed own 12-month sentence suspended for two years with 200 hoursí unpaid work and the three-month curfew from 9pm to 7am. He also told to pay £12,840 (apparently all he has) in six months or go to prison for a year.