The UK’s biggest ever cyber scammers stole £113m by calling victims pretending to be from their bank. Fraudsters used bin bags full of cash for shopping sprees, bought supercars and a Lahore mansion. The Glasgow-based gang targeted small businesses in telephone fraud scam and they cleared out millions of pounds from their victims’ bank accounts
The ring leader Choudhary has been jailed for 11 years and 14 others also face prison terms.
The Burnley-born fraudster had fleeced over 750 British firms to fund his millionaire playboy lifestyle. Raking in £3million a month by cold-calling bank customers, he ruined hundreds of lives and put small businesses on the brink of bankruptcy – leaving one victim so distraught that she committed suicide.
Choudhary phoned businesses claiming to be from their bank, saying security on the accounts had been compromised. He got internet bank security details and passwords from employees and emptied their accounts in minutes, blocking phone lines with software to stop contact with the real bank
Unwitting customers were told their accounts had been hacked and were duped into giving their internet banking passwords over the phone.
The cash was withdrawn by ‘money mules’ and moved through transfer exchanges from London to Pakistan and elsewhere. The biggest raid saw £2.2million taken from a solicitor’s firm in minutes
Choudhary used the details to convince businesses he was a genuine bank employee, telling them they had been hacked by ‘someone in Aberdeen’ called ‘King’
Scotland Yard believes at least 750 businesses were affected between January 2013 and October 2015, but there could be countless others. Choudhary targeted customers from Lloyds, Santander, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Choudhary grew so rich that he flew his personal valets 8,000 miles across the world to polish his Porsches.
He posed as a music producer and property developer and owned a fleet of expensive cars including a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and two Porsches.
Choudhary spent millions on a property portfolio in Pakistan, Dubai and Scotland, treated himself to £100,000 shopping trips at Harrods, bought £45,000 Rolex watches and enjoyed luxury holidays in the Middle East.
Choudhary was jailed for 11 years. Corrupt Lloyds business adviser, Jones Opare-Addo, was jailed for five years for leaking account details to the gang and setting up accounts to launder cash.
Emma Daramola, 23, was given a two-year suspended sentence for conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position for her role as an insider at Lloyds
A long list of accomplices were also jailed.
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