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Amazon, Apple dish up $300,000 to 'musical crims'

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A gang of cyber fraudsters were arrested this morning after allegedly making tens of thousands of pounds by buying their own records from Apple iTunes and Amazon using stolen credit cards.

Nine people are currently being held in custody following arrests at addresses in London and the West Midlands earlier today.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that the arrests were the result of a parallel international probe carried out with the FBI that kicked off in February 2009.

The police units found that between September 2008 and January this year, a criminal gang allegedly provided music via an unnamed US web firm that uploaded the tracks to iTunes and Amazon.com for sale.

The Met claimed the network pulled in sales of approximately $750,000 (£468,750) using 1,500 compromised UK and USA credit cards, that slipped under the radar of both Apple and Amazon.

The two internet giants were hoodwinked into coughing up royalties totalling $300,000 (£187,500) to the gang, said the Met.

"This investigation, with its national and international dimension, exemplifies why we have set up this national response to e-crime. It shows the success that can be achieved through our close working relationship with the FBI," said the Met's e-Crime unit spokesman DCI Terry Wilson.

"We are now making it more risky for criminals who seek to exploit the internet and commit e-crime across national borders. We are working hard through partnership with industry and law enforcement to combat e-crime and are committed to pursuing those responsible."

Some 60 UK officers from the Met and West Midlands police took part in this morning's raids in London, Birmingham, Kent and Wolverhampton, where six men and three women between the ages of 22 and 46 were arrested.

The Met confirmed that the nine alleged fraudsters remained in custody in a number of London and Midlands police stations on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. ®

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