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ht people behind a phishing attack that netted them a woman’s £1 million lifesavings, which they spent on items ranging from cheeseburgers to high-end computers and gold, have been convicted. This follows an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).
In December 2011, [R] Tamer Hassanin Zaky Abdelhamid, 24 (27.08.88) an Egyptian national of Cairo sent the British woman – who is currently living in South Africa – an email purporting to be from her bank. It directed her to a web page mimicking her bank’s genuine website where she filled in her account details in order to log in.
Parading under the online moniker ‘Aimless88’, Abdelhamid then sold the victim’s details for £3,200 to [P] Rilwan Adesegun Oshodi, 29 (7.02.84), a Nigerian national of Greenhaven Drive, Thamesmead, SE28.
Oshodi used [Q] Annette Jabeth, 26 (14.11.86) a Sierra Leone national of Grasshaven Way, Thamesmead, SE28 to ring the bank posing as the victim and have contact details associated with the account changed, so the victim wouldn’t receive confirmation of transactions.
The victim’s savings were then siphoned off via internet transfers to numerous accounts including several controlled by other individuals. Much of the money was spent when the five embarked on a three-day spending spree during the New Year sales in January 2012.
Detectives from the MPS’s PCeU worked closely with the banking industry to identify many of those involved and subsequently arrested them in March, April and September 2012, following a series of co-ordinated raids, assisted by colleagues from the East Midlands, York and Humberside, and North West regional hubs, the MPS’s Fraud Squad and City of London Police’s Specialist Crime Department. The raids took place at various locations across London and the West Midlands.
At Oshodi’s address in Thamesmead they seized computers featuring the details of over 11,000 credit cards – of which 8,471 were for UK customers – worth an estimated £2.5m loss to the banking industry.
They arrested Abdelhamid in September after he coincidentally flew from Egypt to visit the UK.
Oshodi was the only member of the gang to deny the charges against him but was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime at Southwark Crown Court today, Thursday 4 April.
The other members pleaded guilty at earlier court hearings at Southwark Crown Court.
One of the ‘mules’ – [E] Shumail Butt, now 21 (15.08.91) of Staines Road, Hounslow, Middlesex – and his brother Shaharyar Butt, now 25 (2.01.88) of Byron Avenue, Hounslow, Middlesex pleaded guilty to entering into/being concerned in the acquisition/retention/use or control of criminal property and were each sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and ordered to pay £600, on 1 August 2012. They were deported to Pakistan on 31 October 2012, having already served time on remand in custody.
Fellow ‘mules’ [B] an 18-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons NOT FOR PUBLICATION: refer Court , and [T] Sharna Leigh Eve, 20 (29.10.92) of Leighton Gardens, Tillbury, Essex pleaded guilty to entering into/being concerned in the acquisition/retention/use or control of criminal property on 8 February 2013.
[S] Chika Okala, 28 (10.07.84) of Edred House, Homerton Road, E9 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud on 1 August 2012.
Abdelhamid pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to defraud on 8 August 2012.
[B/T/S] are scheduled to be sentenced with [P/Q/R] at Southwark Crown Court on 9 and 10 May 2013.
A 16-year-old girl [A] received a juvenile warning.
Eleven others – [C/D/G/H/I/J/K/L/M/N/O] – were arrested and later released with no further action.
The PCeU would like to remind members of the public never to click on links in unsolicited emails purporting to be from banks or building societies. Further advice can be found at www.getsafeonline.org.
Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie, of the PCeU, said: “This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when police work together with industry to tackle the top tier of cyber crime.
“In this case the internet was used to allow disparate criminals to collude regardless of global location, time zone or legal framework. The victim of the crime was in South Africa while the suspects were in Egypt and the UK.
“While the internet can be a fantastic resource, it can also be used to commit old crimes in new ways. It is important that internet users are alert to the risks posed by the ingenuity of online criminals who seek to steal our money.
“Today’s sentences are testament to how seriously we take this type of crime and should stand as a deterrent to anyone who might consider phishing or benefitting from phishing.”
Source: Metropolitan Police Service
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