UK cyber fraud gang jailed for selling identity theft kits online

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UK cyber fraud gang jailed for selling identity theft kits online

Warwick Ashford

Six members of a UK cyber fraud organisation have been jailed for selling identity theft kits online after pleading guilty at Southwark crown court.

The gang members, who provided fake identities and documents to thousands of customers, were jailed after a two-and-a-half-year investigation into their multimillion-pound operation.

The gang operated from Alicante, in Spain, under the name of Confidential Access (CA), which provided fake documents and coaching on how to commit fraud through online forums.

The fake documents, which included proof of postal address, were sold as full credit profiles to enable customers to commit fraud.

However, if the customer successfully committed fraud, Confidential Access would ask for 50% of the customer's first fraud or threaten to wreck the credit profile, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Of the 11,000 clients who used CA's services, some spent more than £20,000 on false documentation and many went on to commit fraud, in some cases totaling more than £1m.

Gang members were arrested after police cracked the encryption codes used by the gang after seizing servers in Hong Kong and replacement servers set up by CA in the Netherlands.

The Metropolitan Police's detective inspector Tim Dowdeswell said: "These cyber criminals not only provided the tools to commit fraud, they instructed their clients in how to use them to make the maximum amount of money, whilst ruining real people's credit histories into the bargain.

"We have already brought many of their students in crime to court and will continue to work with other police forces and partners to bring those people who bought and used these identities in their own frauds to justice."

The operation was run by Jason Place and Barry Sales in Alicante, while employees based around the UK would monitor the CA website and work on producing various documents, including false bank statements, wage slips, driving licences and utility bills.

Jason Place, 42, from Gravesend, Kent, was jailed for six years and nine months for conspiracy to defraud. 

Barry Sales was not prosecuted because he is terminally ill.

Mark Powell-Richards, 59, a credit broker and antiques dealer from Bickley in Kent, was sentenced to 225 months for conspiracy to defraud.

Allen Stringer, 57, of Crossgates, Leeds, was jailed for the same term on an identical charge.

Michael Daly, 68, a former chauffeur from Erith, Kent, was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community service for conspiracy to defraud.

Jaipal Singh, 31, a telecoms company director, of Franchise Street, Wednesbury, West Midlands, was sentenced to 18 months for conspiracy to defraud.

Arun Thear, 22, of West Bromwich, was sentenced to six months, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 150 hours' unpaid community service for forgery.


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