The biggest online fraud in UK to till date has been caught. A gang which was behind the fraud has been jailed. They had conned hundreds of thousands of people through copycat websites. They have taken out £37 million out of people’s pocket.
The gang set up websites that acted like they were official government sites. They sold passports, driving licenses and visas at an increased price. They also paid Google to rank those sites on top of certain searches.
They used the same color schemes and logs as were used by the government sites, to fool people into thinking the sites as the official ones.
Peter Hall, 47, was the mastermind behind the fraud. He carried on tricking people even when he was under trial, but he did not obey a court order which told him to stop.
Peter Hall along with his partner Claire Hall, 42, of Medstead, Alton, and Hampshire made a lot of money. She was ready to buy a £1.4 million house when the authorities intervened.
The Trading Standards said that Peter Hall was convicted at Teesside Crown Court for conspiracy to defraud in July last year. He was also convicted on a separate hearing which finished on Tuesday. He has been sentenced to a total of 15 years in jail.
Judge Sean Morris said that dishonest people can make a lot of money out of honest
The Judge also told Claire Hall that she also continued to do what they were doing even after knowing full well that an investigation is being carried on. He said that she kept enjoying the lifestyle, driving fast cars, having expensive holidays and tried to buy a house costing over £1 million.
Web designer Syed Bilal Zaidi, 35, formerly of Broad Street, Alresford, Hampshire, was also jailed for six years in his absence but his whereabouts are still not known.
Collette ferrown, 50, of Longmead, Liss, and Hamspshire was also jailed for four years. Liam Hinks, 24, from St Albans Heights, Tanyfron, Wareham, pleaded guilty before the trial and was jailed for three years.
The also developed websites mimicking American, Turkish, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Srilanka’s official visa sites where people could apply visit visas to visit these countries.
The gang was caught after a major investigation by the National Trading Standards ecrime team.