Jail Time for Phishing Team

Thursday, June 20, 2013 @ 12:06 PM gHale

Three men who ran a phishing scam that made off with millions now face a total of 21 years in prison after their sentencing hearing.

The men, Inout Caraman and Adrian Iorgovean from Romania and Nigerian Sunday Godday Etu, had servers containing details of 30,000 bank customers – 12,500 of which were in the UK. They also had 70 million customer email addresses used in phishing scams.

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Met Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), the Serious Organized Crime Agency (Soca), and the U.S. Secret Service conducted the investigation.

Their activities first came to light when intelligence sent to the PCeU found 2,600 phishing pages that mimicked the web pages of banking websites had been set up to gather data from users based in the UK, US, China and Russia.

The men ended up traced to the UK, staying in a luxury hotel in London. Investigators from Soca and the PCeU arrested them and they received sentences two days later.

The PCeU then worked with counterparts from the U.S. and France to secure the servers, which were in the individual countries. Based on the amount of data stored on the servers, the Financial Fraud Bureau said $91.3 million (£59 million) worth of fraud targeting 12,500 UK victims ended up prevented, and the figure would have been higher if they accounted for the international victims.

At sentencing, the Caraman and Iorgovean received sentences of seven years and two months, and five years and seven months respectively for pleading guilty, while Etu received eight years after pleading not guilty.

Investigating officer DI Jason Tunn, of the MPS PCeU, said the convictions were a success against the cyber gang and he said the joint efforts by the United States Secret Service, Municipal Police of Lille, and the Romanian Police Cyber Division assisted in the case.

“These convictions have struck a major and decisive blow against this global cyber crime gang. Quite what they have managed to steal is yet to be determined but their conviction has prevented them from systematically defrauding thousands more bank customers across the world,” he said.

“This is by far the biggest case the PCeU has dealt with to date and is likely to be the biggest cyber phishing case so far in the UK.”

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