Six men were jailed for a total of 15 years last week after pleading guilty to one of the largest identity theft rackets to be uncovered in the UK.
The gang admitted sample charges of using online databases and forged passports and driving licenses to defraud the Halifax, Co-op and Lloyds TSB banks of £350,000.
The men, arrested by the National High Tech Crime Unit, are believed to have stolen millions from other high-street banks, which have written the money off, rather than report it to the police.
The fraudsters, all from the south-east of England, used the money to live the high life, buying houses, high-performance cars and expensive jewellery.
They used internet property auction sites and credit reference agency databases to steal the identities of people with good credit ratings who had recently died.
They were able to apply for loans, chequebooks and platinum credit cards by forging passports and driving licences in the names of the dead people.
"The internet offers huge legitimate benefits for modern society; however, with it comes powerful opportunities for those seeking to abuse the benefits for criminal gain. The case highlights the complex sophistication and lengths that criminals will go to," said detective chief superintendent Len Hynds.
The National High-Tech Crime Unit investigated and arrested the six men following a tip-off from Lloyds TSB.
Police rounded up the gang in a series of raids between October and December last year, but the men began another wave of bank frauds after being released on bail.
Detectives were able to retrace the gang through an IP address to premises in Whetstone, north London.
They were jailed at Wood Green Crown Court last Friday.
Ibrahim Sanyaolu, 24 from Chadwell Heath, Essex was jailed for four and a half years, Martin Badejoko, 30, also from Chadwell Heath, was jailed for three years, George O’Neill, 39 from Enfield, Middlesex, was jailed for two and a half years, Huseyin, Ekinci, 21 from London was jailed for twoyears, and Toluwalaise Ajike, 29 of no fixed abode, was jailed for 18 months.