Six-year jail term for Brit-Indian in 2 mln pounds PIN fraud scam

October 29th, 2008 - 12:48 pm ICT by ANI  

London , Oct 29 (ANI): A 30-year-old computer whiz-kid Anup Patel, of India origin, who was arrested in 2006 over theft of information from 19,000 credit cards and amassing around two million pounds, has been found guilty and jailed for six years.

Anthony Thomas (45) a father of two who acted as a mule delivering the bogus cards to countries that do not use chips on cards, was also jailed for two years for the same offences.

The men will, however, serve half their jail terms before being considered for parole.

Another man is being held in Thailand on suspicion of being linked to the scheme.

It was revealed that while on the run Patel had taunted Detective Sergeant Simon Russen, the senior officer hunting for him, by comparing his criminal computer wizardry to the famous con artist Frank Abagnale Jr, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Catch Me If You Can. In a two-minute, late-night phone call, Patel had joked with Russen that if he was DiCaprio, it meant that the detective was Tom Hanks, the actor who played the FBI agent. He then said: Catch me if you can before hanging up.

According to timesonline.com, Patel first stole after details of 19,000 cards and PINs from British users, and then set up a network of couriers to deliver batches of fake cards abroad to exploit a loophole in the chip-and-PIN banking security system.

While still studying computer sciences at a London university, the 30-year-old was developing state-of-the-art technology secretly to harvest customers” private bank details. Petrol stations around the M25, among others, were believed to have been used to cash in on the large number of people using payment cards to buy fuel, added the paper.

Fake payment terminals with hidden data readers, and secret cameras, often drilled into the ceiling, had been used to record bank details and PINs. Subsequently, the information collected was used to make bogus cards at Patel’’s factory and laboratory, which were found when police raided rented units at Croydon House Business Centre in South London in 2006.

Motorists discovered that they had been the victims of fraud when their banks contacted them to check whether they had withdrawn cash abroad or when the cardholders spotted suspicious transactions on their bank statements.

After an investigation that involved detectives tracing criminal gang links to Thailand , Eastern Europe and Turkey , Patel was jailed for six years for conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to defraud. (ANI)

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