Three Nigerians have been jailed for a fraud totaling about £ 3.7 million in what is believed to be the first UK prosecution for an organized phishing operation.
The gang made up of Babatunde Fafore of County Meath in Ireland, Ayodeji John Kareem of south east London and Vincent Alonge of Wimbledon, south west London have been jailed for a total of more than 13 years.
They were accused of obtaining details of 10,000 credit cards and 900 bank accounts after sending e-mails that looked like they were official bank messages, asking their victims to confirm account details including passwords. They then stole an estimated £3.1million from their victims’ credit cards and around £600,000 from bank accounts.
Commenting on the crime, DI Colin Wetherill, of Scotland Yard’s Police Central e-Crime Unit said: “In collaboration with law enforcement colleagues and industry partners both in the UK and overseas we are working to identify and bring to justice those committing serious and organized offences of this nature online, and to reduce the harm they cause to innocent individuals and to the economy. These convictions represent a significant step forward.
However, we all have a role to play in the protection of our private information and we would urge the public to exercise great care when supplying their personal details online and to take the advice given at www.getsafeonline.org”.
Discussing about what gave the fraudsters away, David Levy of the Central Fraud Group of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “the men profited enormously by taking advantage of the trust that many of us would place in an internet service that appeared genuine, but their enjoyment of their ill-gotten gains was short-lived. The bogus e-mails and websites that led victims into the scam also led the authorities to the scammers”. He also disclosed that “those who use the internet thinking they can phish with impunity should be warned by this case that you will be found out and you will be prosecuted.”
Kareem, 38, pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court to conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to three and half years, plus five years five months for conspiracy to acquire and use criminal property, the sentences to run concurrently.
Alonge, 31, pleaded guilty to fraud offences and was given six months and a second sentence of two years, the sentences to run consecutively.
Fafore, 41, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and got four years, and five years seven months for using criminal property, both sentences to run concurrently.
Source: UK Mirror