An Indian-origin man has been sentenced to three years and four months in the UK over his role in a cyber fraud operation, which used computer malware to steal tens of thousands of pounds from victims.
Abhay Singh pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer and remove criminal property and was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court last week.
The 33-year-old was arrested earlier this year when Metropolitan Police Central Specialist Crime unit officers seized a wide range of suspicious items, including driving licences and bank cards belonging to other individuals, quantities of cash as well as paying in books belonging to businesses.
“The impact of this fraud upon individuals and businesses both small and large should not be underestimated,” said Detective Superintendent Gavin McKay of the Met’s Central Specialist Crime unit.
“This group of criminals stole tens of thousands from individuals, businesses, schools and other organisations. They showed no regard for the livelihoods of members of the public, or the future of some businesses during the course of their actions, he said.
Singh was involved in the cyber fraud ring led by 32-year-old Usman Khan, who was jailed for four years and six months over conspiracy to defraud and two counts of conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer and remove criminal property. A third accomplice, 56-year-old Naveed Pasha, was handed down a two-year suspended sentence.
The case revolves around a long-term cyber fraud and money laundering operation between January 2016 and January 2019, committed by what UK police said was a sophisticated criminal gang. The group used malicious software to infiltrate computers, enabling them to access the bank accounts of individuals and businesses.
“This was a highly complex investigation that dismantled a cyber crime and money laundering organised crime group, said Phil Larratt, from the UK’s National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit.
“Cyber criminals rely heavily on money launderers like Khan and his associates who, in this case, ensured a criminal network were able to access thousands of pounds they stole from victims. We are committed to supporting and working with our partners, both nationally and internationally, to target those involved in cyber crime and prevent further people in the UK being defrauded, he said.
The conspirators removed substantial funds from each account before transferring the money to other mule accounts under their control. They would then make a final movement of the funds before withdrawing it at banks across the country.
The group used a range of methods to gain access to their victims’ bank accounts and transfer money out.