6 June 2012
Two men who provided a range of services to credit card fraudsters have been sentenced to almost five years after facilitating fraud valued at more than £26.9m.
Jay Moore, aged 21, from Gloucestershire, who used the online moniker of ‘t0pp8uzz’, set up the Freshshop website to facilitate the bulk sale of stolen financial data. He recruited Damian Horne, aged 22, from Manchester, who was known by the online moniker of ‘GM’, to assist in his online criminality.
Moore and Horne, who both pleaded guilty to a range of fraud, money laundering and computer misuse offences, were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court recently to 3 years and 21 months respectively.
The duo met through an online ‘hackers’ chat forum, and commenced their criminal activities by selling stolen iTunes vouchers and other online gaming codes on eBay. Within a short space of time they escalated their criminal enterprise to sell compromised credit card data, and laundered the proceeds of their criminality through a network of bank accounts, online financial institutions and overseas money exchangers.
Moore, who had no formal qualifications, used his advanced computer knowledge to hack into computer systems and obtain databases of payment card information which he then made available through his website Freshshop, which was designed to look and operate like any other online retail site. In addition to selling information he had obtained himself, he also allowed other like minded criminals to sell their compromised data on the website, for which he received a commission.
Horne used his personal bank account to receive criminal funds received through the website and posted bundles of cash to Moore.
When Serious Organised Crime Agency officers raided his parents’ home in 2011, Moore was found in control of a bank of computers logged on to the Freshshop website. A search of his bedroom revealed a safe which contained over £80,700 in cash.
Enquiries identified assets purchased as a result of his criminality, including a top of the range BMW motor car with personalised registration plate which alone was valued at over £10,000. Such was Moore’s wealth that he also provided some £40,000 to help his father buy a substantial farm house. He attributed his earnings to a fake web design business created purely to hide his criminal activity.
Analysis of Moore’s computers revealed that he held the payment card details of more than 340,000 individuals, and fraud losses attributed to card details available on his website have been reported as being in excess of £26.9m by the card issuers. This is, in reality, a conservative figure and the actual loss is likely to be considerably more because In addition to the fraud attributed to specific cards, the information brokered by Moore would also have been sufficient to enable fake bank accounts to be set up. These could in turn be used to commit further fraud, such as cheque or identity fraud.
The sale of this compromised data earned Moore substantial profits, including £170,000 credited to his bank account, and the £80,700 found in his safe.
In a further effort to conceal the large sums of cash flowing in to his bank account, Moore recruited two friends to collect money on his behalf from Western Union outlets in the Bristol area. These two individuals, Lewis Danter, aged 20, from Coalpit Heath, and John Allen, aged 22, from Bedminster Down, pleaded guilty to money laundering offences and received community service sentences.
SOCA is continuing to investigate those persons who used the Freshshop website, and the financial investigation is still ongoing.