Saturday, August 9, 2008

Credit Card Scammer Jailed in UK

JAILED : Credit Card Scammer Jailed in UK

Daily Mirror, SriLanka



A Sri Lankan petrol station cashier was jailed in Britain on Wednesday for helping to defraud an entire British village.

Abdul Samad Mohamed Raik cloned more than 500 debit or credit cards to steal £175,000 in a global fraud allegedly driven by links to a guerrilla group in Sri Lanka.

Barely a single household in Houghton on the Hill, Leicestershire, escaped the scam, which was carried out over a two-month period late last year.

Residents in the village, which has a population of around 1,500, had no idea that they had been targeted until learning from their banks that their accounts had been plundered all around the globe.

Leicester Crown Court heard on Wednesday how Raik, a Sri Lankan national, used a fake card reader to copy the card details of both villagers and motorists passing through the area.

Fake cards were then used to withdraw cash from the customers' accounts in countries all around the world including Australia, Senegal, India, Canada and the Philippines.

Although some attempts to withdraw money were refused, other victims of the scam lost cash which was withdrawn on the same day at locations hundreds of miles apart.

Justin Wigoder, prosecuting, said the owner of Houghton Garage, Jim Funnell, had no idea what was going on while Raik was at the till. Raik, 33, worked at the village's Jet filling station and its shop for 13 months and carried out the fraud between October and December last year.

He left his job at the end of 2007 when the scale of the scam became clear to locals.

He gave himself up to police in March. He claimed he became involved after running up a debt with a loan shark who was linked to the Sri Lankan guerrilla group the Tamil Tigers.

Raik told police he was given the cloning equipment and ordered to use it to pay off what he owed - and more besides.

The organisers also provided him with a fake Indian passport and told him he could use it to flee the country afterwards, he claimed.

Raik was jailed for two years and nine months after admitting obtaining property by deception and possessing a false passport. Sentencing him, Recorder Duncan Smith said Raik was guilty of a 'gross breach of trust' towards Mr Funnell, who 'relies on the good faith of his staff and on the custom his customers bring him'.

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