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UK Man Sentenced to 13 Years for Running Multi-Million Fraud Website – Source: www.infosecurity-magazine.com

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Source: www.infosecurity-magazine.com – Author: 1

A man has been sentenced to 13 years and four months for running a multi-million-pound fraud website that led to at least £100m ($124.2m) being stolen globally. Of this, £43m ($53.4m) was taken from UK victims.

Law enforcement believes the actual losses to be far higher because fraud is a heavily underreported crime.

Tejay Fletcher, 35, from London, UK, was handed the jail term on Thursday at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty to charges of making or supplying articles for use in fraud, encouraging or assisting the commission of an offense, possessing criminal property and transferring criminal property. The crimes took place between November 30, 2020 and November 8, 2022.

The sentence followed a large international law enforcement operation led by London’s Metropolitan Police in coordination with the City of London Police, the National Crime Agency, Europol, Eurojust, Dutch authorities and the FBI.

While Fletcher was not directly responsible for the scams, his website offered tools for hire that enabled its users to launch sophisticated financial scams.

Criminals used the service’s technology to pose as representatives of banks including Barclays, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds and Halifax. They would call members of the public to warn of suspicious activity on their accounts, and ask them to disclose sensitive security information, such as one-time passcodes, to access their money.

The software allowed users to mask their phone numbers to trick victims into believing they were calling from their bank.

iSpoof users could choose from a number of packages, allowing them to purchase the number of minutes they wanted to use software for to make calls in Bitcoin.

The Met Police said that at its peak, the site had 59,000 registered users. Before it was shut down in November 2022, iSpoof was growing at a rate of 700 new users every week.

In the 12 months until August 2022, around 10 million fraudulent calls were made globally via iSpoof, with roughly 3.5 million of those made in the UK.

In total, iSpoof made over £3m ($3.73m) during its period of operation, with Fletcher earning around £1.7-1.9m ($2.1-2.36m) in profit. This allowed him to live an extravagant lifestyle.

Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley commented: “We are proud to have taken down criminals at the top of this fraudulent network, heartless people who were determined to facilitate fraud on an industrial scale, ruining the lives of many victims who were targeted.

“Closing down iSpoof has been the UK’s biggest ever fraud operation was a collective effort.”

Detective Superintendent Helen Rance added: “By setting up iSpoof Fletcher created a gateway for thousands of criminals to defraud innocent victims out of millions of pounds. Meanwhile he was living a luxury lifestyle benefitting from the profits.

“Those who commit fraud have no regard for the life-changing impact it has on innocent victims who have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds. Fletcher should be thoroughly ashamed.”

In addition to prosecuting the man responsible for running the service, the investigation led to the dismantling of the iSpoof website. Law enforcement are also continuing to target the fraudsters who paid to use its services.

Original Post URL: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/uk-man-sentenced-fraud-website/

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