Three men who made a £1million by fraudulently buying internet airtime to sell to overseas clients have been jailed for 12 years at the Inner London Crown Court.
On Friday (August 21) Ross Faulkes, from Brighton, was sentenced to three years, a week after Mark Thompson, from Treveor Close, Worthing, was sentenced to four years and David Robinson, from Bournemouth, five years in prison.
The three men had been convicted of fraud by false representation and conspiracy to defraud in June 2015 following an investigation by the City of London Police Fraud Squad.
Detectives uncovered how they purchased the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) airtime from British Telecom (BT), Wavecrest and The Exclusive Group on credit and sold it abroad using a hijacked company identity known as CADCORP.
The VoIP was then used by their clients to make internet-based calls from the UK to Zimbabwe and countries in the Middle East, with Thompson, 59, Robinson, 35 and Faulkes, 26 using their own engineer to make the source of the calls untraceable.
The bill for the internet calling credit was never settled with BT, Wavecrest and The Exclusive Group, with the three men blowing much of the £1million.
Faulkes in particular spent to excess on Porsches and a lavish lifestyle of expensive hotels and restaurants.
The case was reported by BT in January 2012 and an investigation was subsequently launched by the City of London Police, with assistance from Sussex Police.
Thompson, Robinson and Faulkes were arrested in December 2012 at their respective homes by detectives.
Directly after his arrest Robinson fled overseas and is currently believed to be in Thailand. He was sentenced in his absence.
City of London Police is the National Policing Lead for Fraud and takes on many of the most significant and complex cases of fraud and economic crime around the UK. It is also home to Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which together record, process and analyse all reports of fraud made across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Detective Sergeant Nick Kemsley, who led the investigation for the City of London Police, said: “Thompson, Robinson and Faulkes believed they had created a highly technical and untraceable scam that would enable them to spend a £1million of another company’s money without ever paying it back.
“Unfortunately for these three men, the City of London Police specialises in investigating complex cases of fraud and has an excellent record of delivering successful prosecutions. Thompson, Robinson and Faulkner can now be added to the ever lengthening list of fraudsters who convinced themselves that they were too smart to be caught and have now ended up with a jail-term.”
Kevin Brown, British Telecom VP Threat Intelligence and GES Transformation, said: “This is an example of a complicated fraud committed against BT by an organised gang of criminals. BT will always rigorously pursue those who attempt to defraud BT and will assist and support the police in order to do so. It will take all possible steps to recover losses resulting from criminal acts committed against it, using relevant legislation to seek compensation from those involved.”
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