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Forest Gate trio’s £4.5million phone fraud

PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 October 2011

An international gang of conspirators stole identities to dishonestly countless mobile phone handsets and SIM cards for a multi-million-pound global fraud.

The scam saw private details of victims used to make multiple calls to premium rate phone numbers. Phone giant O2 lost £4.5 million as a result.

Forest Gate pair Mohammad Butt, 42, of Claremont Road and Nikhil Jamsandekar, 33, of St George’s Road admitted conspiracy to defraud between January 1, 2010 and August 18, 2010.

from Forest Gate, were among five men jailed at Southwark Crown Court (Oct 12).

Butt received three years in jail; Jamsandekar got a 27-month term.

Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC said: “This is not a victimless crime, as inevitably such huge losses are passed on in part to honest bill-paying customers.”

The gang fooled mobile phone company O2 into handing out handsets and SIM cards using hijacked identities and credit cards.

The phones were distributed amongst criminals who set up premium rate international phone lines.

They got 1,000 iPhones and used them to dial their £10-a-minute lines around the clock, pocketing the charge paid by the networks.

In an eight month period the gang racked up bills of £4,427,525.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the gang corrupted at least nine DHL delivery drivers to intercept the iPhones before they were delivered to bogus addresses used to obtain contracts.

The judge said he accepted there must have been a significant number of conspirators, especially abroad and that none of the accused “were at the pinnacle of the conspiracy or the creator of it”. But they all played significant parts.

An eighth member, Wasim Shaikh, 27, also of St George’s Road, was sentenced to six months earlier this year after admitting being concerned in an arrangement or facilitating the acquisition, use or control of criminal property.


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