Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sri Lankan gang convicted for UK credit card fraud - 16 Sep 2008

LONDON: A three-member Sri Lankan gang that defrauded thousands of people of nearly 254,000 pounds by cloning their credit cards in the UK have been convicted by a local court here.

Judge Martin Beddoe at the Southwark Crown Court jailed Pirathesan, 28, a British passport holder of Sri Lankan origin, Somabalu Jeyaganesh, 34-year-old Asylum seeker and 27-year-old Sivanesan Mayilvaganam, an illegal immigrant from Sri Lanka, for three years each and recommended for their deportation.

The judge said the three, who operated mainly in West Midlands and London, had duplicated credit cards estimated at 254,000 pounds but the potential loss in the scam could have been 3.5 million pounds.

"This was a worldwide fraud to leach money from the genuine card holders' accounts," Judge Beddoe said.

"This was a determined, sophisticated and well organised operation," the judge said.

The gang bought petrol stations and stole thousands of customers' credit card details in the scam.

The three were involved in taking over stations or bribing staff at others to fit cameras in the ceilings to film motorists typing in their PIN numbers.

They used sophisticated electronic devices to intercept account information and clone credit cards, which were then used around the world.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, the three turned a house in Coventry into a "fraud factory" that
targeted 4,500 customers.

Pirathesan was found to have made 29 trips to America, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka between January 2006 and December 2007 to pick up payments from criminals using the cards.

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