Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/09/08/police_smash_uks_biggest_credit/

Police smash UK's biggest credit card fraud ring

Three facing long sentences

By Drew Cullen

Posted in Security, 8th September 2003 13:16 GMT

Three men are facing long jail sentences after pleading guilty, Friday (Sept. 5) to running the UK's biggest ever credit card fraud at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court.

The trio stole details of 847 cards of Heathrow Express rail passengers who had paid for their journey by credit cards. They passed on the infor a gang of forgers who cloned 8,790 credit cards for use in the UK and on the Continent. The cloners were able to use only 10 per cent of the numbers, pocketing £2m for the gang. Police estimate that the gang could have gained £20m if all the credit card numbers had been used.

Mastermind was Sunil Mahtani, 26, a non-resident Indian national who worked in IT for Checkline Plc, the company that processed Heathrow Express's credit card transaction. Mahtani obtained the data simply by downloading it from the computer processing the transactions.

His scam ran for three years, ending in September 2001, after a sting conducted by undercover police.

The court heard that Mahtani stole the money to impress his girlfriend, a successful investment banker.

As well as Mahtani and his two co-defendants, eight more people were arrested in connection with the case. The eight were released on bail. ®