Three men have pleaded guilty for online fraud offences following an investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime’s (SEROCU) Cyber Crime Unit.
Adeel Choudhry, aged 22, Abdul Ali, aged 22, both of Glentworth Place, Slough; alongside Luigino Mingeel, aged 19, of Avondale Rise, London all pleaded guilty to offences at Reading Crown Court on 7 July and were sentenced on Tuesday (30/8) and Wednesday (31/8) last week.
SEROCU’s Cyber Crime Unit worked closely with Paypal and identified an organised crime group predominately based in Slough, being run by Choudhry. The group was carrying out a number of different frauds involving Paypal.
The group would obtained information about innocent holders of PayPal accounts, which Choudhry, or others, would then use to make payments from the accounts into PayPal accounts controlled by the group. From there the money was transferred into a bank account also controlled by the group.
A second method of fraud involved the group members paying money into an account they had set up and then arranged for the money to be transferred to a second account also controlled by the group therefore keeping control of the money at all stages. They would then make a claim from the account from which the money had been transferred out, claiming that the transaction was unauthorised, in the hope that PayPal would refund the money.
Choudhry pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal between 19 December 2013 and 15 April 2015. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
Ali pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering and was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment for each count, to run concurrently.
Mingeel pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal between 19 December 2013 and 15 April 2015. He was sentenced 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 300 hours of unpaid work to be completed before 31 August 2017.
Det Sgt Rob Bryant, from SEROCU’s Cyber Crime Unit, said: “I would like to praise the investigation team for their dedication and hard work in bringing about the successful conclusion of this investigation.
“Working closely with PayPal to examine a vast quantity of data and then present this at court has required many hours.
“The sentences and guilty pleas should let cyber criminals know that we will investigate and put forward evidence to bring them to justice.
“Finally I would also like to thank the Crown Prosecution Service and the Barrister Mr Bryan for their efforts in this case.”
*Note to editiors: Picture is of Choudhry