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UK court dishes out 13 years' porridge to e-fraudsters

Cyber-cops: £1m phishermen had 40 bogus bank sites

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Three fraudsters have been jailed for a combined total of 13 years and six months over their involvement in a sophisticated phishing fraud against UK and international banks.

Ayodeji Kareem, 38, Vincent Alonge, 31, and Babatunde Fafore, 41, were all jailed at a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday. All three defendants, who were arrested in August 2010 in raids in the UK and Ireland, had pleaded guilty to fraud back in May. Kareem was jailed for five years and five months, while Alonge was sent down for two years. Fafore was jailed for five years and seven months.

Together the trio participated in a crime that affected tens of thousands of victims and resulted in losses of millions of pounds.

Investigators reckons the frudsters compromised more than 900 bank accounts and 10,000 credit cards, raiding £599,000 from compromised banks accounts and stealing £570,000 from stolen credit cards in the process. The conmen harvested bank login details and other sensitive information after setting-up 40 bogus bank web-pages, promoted using spam emails. Attempted fraudulent transfers and transactions exceeded £4.2m.

Financial investigators are continuing attempts to unravel the fraud and confiscate the proceeds of the scam.

The case, codenamed Operation Dynamophon, was investigated by officers from the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit. Irish police arrested Fafore, who was resident in County Cavan at the time of his arrest last year. Four further individuals arrested at the time of the original operation were released without charge.

In a statement, DI Colin Wetherill, 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 organised 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". ®

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