THREE fraudsters who used malware to steal tens of thousands of pounds from victims across the UK have been sentenced on Friday (29).
The Birmingham Crown Court sentenced Usman Khan, Abhay Singh, and Naveed Pasha.
Khan, 32, of Pershore Road, Birmingham, was charged with conspiracy to defraud and two counts of conspiracy to conceal criminal property.
He was jailed for 54 months by the court.
Singh, 33, of Abingdon was jailed for 40 months whereas, Pasha, 56, of Wyndhurst Road, Birmingham, was jailed for 24 months and suspended for 33 months.
Singh and Pasha were charged with conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer, and remove criminal property.
The trio admitted to the offence committed by them.
DS Gavin McKay from Central Specialist Crime said: “The impact of this fraud upon individuals and businesses, both small and large, should not be underestimated. This group of criminals stole tens of thousands from individuals, businesses, schools, and other organisations. They showed no regard for the livelihoods of members of the public, or the future of some businesses during the course of their actions.
The case focuses on a long-term cyber fraud and money laundering operation committed by a sophisticated criminal group between 2016 and 2019.
The group used malicious software to infiltrate computers, enabling them to access the bank accounts of individuals and businesses.
The conspirators removed substantial funds from each account, before transferring the money to other ‘mule’ accounts under their control.
They would then make a final movement of the funds before withdrawing it at banks across the country.
Khan controlled the criminal enterprise through the use of aliases and the support of a trusted group of criminal associates.
He had a leading role in all elements of the conspiracy.
Khan first came to the attention of officers following the arrest and conviction of Vugar Mollachiev, 39, of Berkeley Gardens in 2017.
He was charged with and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, and was jailed for nine years.
During the search of Mollachiev’s house, a number of significant electronic devices were seized.
It is from detailed analysis of these devices and the 46,700 lines of interaction located on an encrypted message platform that Khan was first identified.
Within the messages, officers discovered evidence dating back to April 2016 of Khan searching for software which he could use to access the bank accounts of members of the public.
His role at that time was to provide and control UK bank accounts and to allow fraudulently obtained money to be transferred through mule accounts.
The money in these accounts would eventually be withdrawn and supplied to a criminal network.
Within the messages discovered on Mollachiev’s device, officers found additional conversations demonstrating Khan’s desire to become further involved in the deployment of malicious software.
Between 2016 and 2017, Khan was involved in thousands of conversations discussing the fraudulent movement of up to £40,000 a day into mule bank accounts from both personal and business victim bank accounts.