Members of a card fraud gang have been sentenced to a total of 15 years for their involvement in a chip and PIN
scam at petrol stations.
The four men appeared at Southwark Crown after a series of card frauds that took place in the south of England during 2009.
Theogenes de Montford received four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment; and Rajakumar Thevathasan, Usman Mahmood and Rashid Abdi Hassan each received three-and-a-half years.
According to the UK Cards Association, their scam involved tampering with chip and PIN devices in various petrol stations in order to copy the electronic data from customers’ credit and debit cards. They then used this data to make fake magnetic stripe cards that could be used fraudulently overseas in countries yet to introduce chip and PIN.
An investigation by officers from the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) – the unique bank-sponsored police squad – led to the arrest of the four suspects. As a result, de Montford pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud and Conspiring to Possess Articles for Use in Fraud and, after a two-week trial, Thevathasan, Mahmood and Hassan were also found guilty of Conspiracy to Defraud.
Detective chief inspector John Osibote, who leads the DCPCU, said: "This is another resounding success for the DCPCU. As a result of this operation, the Unit has prevented a significant amount of card fraud from taking place. We have worked closely with both the banking and retail sector on this investigation, and together we are sending a very clear message that those responsible for these types of fraud will be caught and prosecuted."
The DCPCU was established in April 2002 and, over the past eight years, it has prevented an estimated £340 million of card and cheque fraud losses, which means on average it has saved over £3.5 million of losses per month.