A pair of phishing fraudsters each received long jail terms after they were convicted of making £15,000 through online scams before using the funds to finance the travel of other crooks into the UK.
Constanta Agrigoroaie, 23, and Radu Savoae, 28, both of Mornington Avenue, Ilford, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, six counts of possession of fraudulent ID cards and possessing equipment to make fraudulent ID and bank cards. Agrigoroaie and Savoae were jailed for six years and eight years respectively at a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday.
Cops said the duo sent emails claiming to be from Apple to over 150 victims. These dodgy emails falsely told recipients that their accounts had been compromised in a bid to induce them into submitting confidential bank details to a dodgy website established by the pair.
This information was used by the pair to siphon funds from compromised bank accounts. Stolen funds were then used to finance the travel into the UK of foreign nationals who went on to commit crime, mostly involving pick-pocketing on London's transport network, said cops.
Six Romanian nationals were detained at Luton Airport in February as part of a joint operation by the Metropolitan Police Service and Bedfordshire Police. The six claimed not to know each other even though all their tickets were bought from the same computer, which was traced to an address shared by Agrigoroaie and Savoae, said cops.
A police raid in April caught Agrigoroaie in the midst of running a phishing scam, as a Met Police statement explains.
On 4 April, officers searched the address where they found Agrigoroaie sitting in front of a computer looking at websites belonging to east European airlines.
She also had a script open showing a vast amount of personal details, including bank card details with the full 16 digit number, expiry date and CVV number as well as their home addresses.
Savoae was later arrested attempting to enter the venue while officers were present.
Police said they'd recovered laptops, iPads, printers and "USB" gadgets during the raid as well as a "vast quantity of blank credit cards, embossing machine and hot foil tipping machine, and a magnetic card reader used to manufacture cloned credit cards". They said they also recovered fake Spanish and Romanian ID cards and a large quantity of money.
Subsequent forensic analysis of computer equipment revealed in excess of 150 credit card numbers and personal details of people around the globe. More than £15,000 was stolen from UK victims. A spreadsheet on a seized computer showed a number of fraudulent transactions for vehicle insurance, flight bookings and other purchases for identified foreign offenders involved in pick-pocketing and "theft-of-metal" offences.
Both Agrigoroaie and Savoae will now be subject to financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act. ®