HeheStreams IPTV Admin Sentenced to Three Years in Prison, $3m Restitution

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Joshua Streit, the former operator of IPTV service Hehestreams, has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay almost $3m in restitution. Known online as Josh Brody, Streit's service granted access to official streams offered by MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL, among others. Earlier, Streit had discussed security vulnerabilities with MLB, which responded by calling in the FBI.

hehestreamsFocusing on MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL content, Hehestreams was no ordinary IPTV service.

Instead of copied streams, captured from broadcasts, HeheStreams users were directed to genuine streams offered by sports broadcasters.

On one hand, that meant that HeheStreams didn’t run up huge server bills. On the other, streams were as reliable as any official stream, because they were official streams.

After being noticed by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, HeheStreams shut down mid 2021. A settlement agreement was reached but the terms remain confidential.

Bug Bounty Deal Gone Bad

When TorrentFreak reached out to Streit in the summer of 2021, he informed us that some official services had vulnerabilities. (Update: Specifically, MLB’s ticket inventory was being available for anyone, which was fully disclosed). He informed us that he’d been in discussion with one or more providers about disclosure.

A subsequent criminal complaint filed by the US Government confirmed that Streit had been in talks with MLB. Vulnerabilities were disclosed to the baseball organization and when Streit indicated that he should be paid for his work, the MLB asked for a specific amount. Streit indicated his work was worth $150K but was also informed there was no ‘bug bounty’ program at the baseball league.

An FBI agent later wrote that Streit had indeed made an approach and presented as helpful. However, he concluded that a “simultaneous intrusion” and “illegal streaming of MLB content” via HeheStreams indicated that the intent was “to extort MLB.”

Charged With Several Crimes, Pleaded Guilty to One

In October 2021, the Department of Justice charged then 30-year-old Streit with several crimes; accessing a protected computer in furtherance of a criminal act for financial gain, accessing a protected computer in furtherance of fraud, wire fraud, sending interstate threats, and illicit digital transmission.

After consulting with his attorney, Streit concluded that signing a plea deal was the most sensible course of action. The Minnesota man pleaded guilty to one count of ‘Computer Fraud – Unauthorized Access to Obtain Information From a Protected Computer’ and to the forfeiture of $500,000, an amount said to represent proceeds traceable to the commission of the offense.

Streit still faced a potential prison sentence of 51-60 months.

Pre-Sentencing Submissions

In advance of a sentencing hearing Thursday, family and friends shared letters with the court recalling their personal experiences with Streit.

One explained how Streit formulated a plan, hired a photographer, and built a website and reservation system for a family business in financial trouble, all for free. More personal submissions from those closer to Streit spoke of his kindness, generosity, and support in their difficult times, and of his support for those no longer around to thank him in person.

Another was submitted by Streit’s current employer; an “embarrassed and remorseful” Streit disclosed his predicament during the interview process, yet still landed the job. A good decision for the tech company since Streit went on to save the company $600,000 annually. Another spoke of how Streit had helped out with schoolwork, without which they would not have made it through class.

Streit Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Streit appeared yesterday in a New York district court for sentencing. His plea agreement established guilt, all that was left was to determine his punishment. The Department of Justice claimed that “one of the victim sports leagues” sustained losses of approximately $3 million due to Streit’s conduct.

We understand that was MLB, the company that had reported Streit after he’d contacted them to discuss vulnerabilities in their systems.

“[A]t the same time STREIT was illicitly streaming copyrighted content from MLB, STREIT engaged in an attempt to extort approximately $150,000 from MLB via a threat from STREIT to publicize unrelated vulnerabilities in MLB’s internet infrastructure,” a Department of Justice statement reads.

“Specifically, in multiple communications with MLB employees, STREIT claimed that he knew MLB reporters who were ‘interested in the story,’ and stated that it would be bad if the vulnerability were exposed and MLB was embarrassed.”

United States District Judge Andrew L. Carter sentenced to Streit to three years in prison and three years of supervised release. In addition to $500,000 in forfeiture, Streit was ordered to pay $2,995,272.64, an amount previously determined by his plea agreement.

TorrentFreak understands the sentence will be appealed.


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