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British Nationals in a Massive Internet Fraud, Get Prison

Three men, on December 20, 2007 were sentenced to jail for their involvement in a worldwide scam racket, which featured a massive theft of personal identities for online fraud.

22-year-old R. Smith from Camberley, Surrey, 25-year-old I. Kotwal from Bolton and 25-year-old M. Murphy from Kingsmead, Northwich, Cheshire, were each imprisoned for 9 months spanning from December 2007 to September 2008 at Bradford Crown Court following pleading guilty of conspiratorial and defrauding activities.

28-year-old S. Stedham, another man from Penyffordd, North Wales was also jailed for the nine month period but under a suspended sentence, for acting as an accomplice to an offender. The four individuals were part of operating a website called Shadowcrew from the US. The site served as a marketplace on the Internet where criminals shared stolen documents on people's personal identities.

All the men had individual contact with Bryn Wellman, a fifth man who was imprisoned for 6 years at Leeds Crown Court in April 2007 after being convicted of practicing the same fraud and was considered as the central figure in the scam.

At the time the fraudsters were caught, they had already defrauded £265,000. However, the Serious Organized Crime Agency of the UK said that the British gang was capable of stealing a good £6 Million.

According to investigators, the four conspirators spent many days phishing for people's personal information and hacking into online banking services in order to create fake credit and bank cards.

Wellman, the man known on the Internet as 'prince of thieves', too employed a Trojan program, a ruse that hackers and cyber criminals popularly use and which helps to gain control over others' computers by spying on their owners' activities.

After the gang members obtained the necessary information, they pretended to be the account-holders, took control over the latter's accounts and changed their mailing IDs and ordered for extra cards. The cards were subsequently used to purchase goods or to sell them off to other persons. Similarly, the gang created and sold counterfeit identity documents like driving licenses to be used to open new bank accounts or to rent property.

Related article: British Telecommunications Introduces New anti-spam System

» SPAMfighter News - 04-01-2008

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