A team of fraudsters has been sentenced to a total of 26 years in jail for a £2 million fraud that targeted UK mobile networks.
Ashok Kumar, Mohammed Akmal and Fahad Lone were sentenced earlier this week at Southwark Crown Court for their part in the fraud. Each was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering; they were given concurrent prison sentences of five years each.
Fraudulently-obtained bankcards and false utility bills were used to obtain ‘pay monthly’ mobile phone contracts from stores across London. O2 alone identified around 500 accounts.
The fraudsters used the SIM cards to call their own premium rate international phone numbers in Latvia, Estonia, Sierra Leone, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Companies operated by the group then received payment from the network operators for the calls made.
Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart, from the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate, said “21st century policing presents new challenges as organised criminal gangs seek to exploit technological advances for illegal gain. This complex and extensive international telecom fraud set up by Kumar, Lone and Akmal provides further evidence of the challenges the counter fraud community is facing. But this successful prosecution shows what an effective force the telecom industry and police is when they work in collaboration to combat crime. I want to pay special tribute to the O2 investigators, who, along with my staff compiled an effective prosecution case on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service. Their hard work has ensured these three fraudsters have been brought to justice and that mobile phone companies are more alert to the threat organised crime gangs pose to their business.”