Internet fraudsters sentenced to 15 years

A London court sentenced six ID fraudsters to a total of 15 years in jail for using false identities to con banks out of £350,000

Six men were sentenced for a total of 15 and a half years in jail at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday, after pleading guilty to using the Internet to defraud UK banks to the tune of £350,000.

The six men, aged between 21 and 39, obtained false identities over the Internet and used them to open bank accounts, arrange overdrafts and apply for credit cards.

According to the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), which was responsible for investigating the crimes and arresting the men, the gang "lived the high life" and had bought properties in the UK and Nigeria as well as jewellery and sports cars. Police confirm that a Porsche, along with jewellery and some cash, has been seized.

Lloyds TSB was the gang's biggest victim, losing £315,000, while the Halifax and the Co-operative Bank lost a combined total of £30,000 over a period of two years.

Detective Chief Superintendent Len Hynds, head of the NHTCU, said the case underlines the need for people to do everything they can to protect that most precious commodity -- their identity. "The Internet offers huge legitimate benefits for modern society; however, with it comes powerful opportunities for those seeking to abuse the benefits for criminal gain," he said in a statement.