Indian jailed for Britain's
biggest fake credit card fraud
Oct 29 (IANS) An India-born computer specialist who was the
mastermind behind Britain's biggest fake credit card racket
has been jailed for six years.
Patel and his accomplices had amassed nearly 2 million pounds
(over $3 million) by making counterfeit credit cards and using
them in several countries in Asia and Europe. Police believe
they would have cheated people of 16 million pounds by now
had they not been caught.
computer sciences graduate from Kingston University, Patel
stole original credit card numbers and PIN (Personal Identification
Numbers) and engraved them on counterfeit cards.
fake cards were transported by one of his accomplices, Anthony
Thomas, to countries in Asia like Thailand and eastern Europe
where the chip-and-PIN security system is not in use. Local
members of the gang withdrew money using those cards by faking
signatures of the original card holders.
police launched an investigation after motorists using the
M25 petrol pumps started receiving credit card statements
citing purchases and cash withdrawals in various countries.
managed to steal details of nearly 19,000 cards. Police suspect
that Patel's gang collected the data from petrol pumps on
the M25 motorway near London with the help of secret cameras
and data card readers. They still do not have a clue as to
how these gadgets were installed. Thousands use these pumps
for fuel daily and payment is almost always through credit
operation was busted in October, 2006 when the police, acting
on an intelligence tip off, raided Patel's rented office premises
at the Croydon House Business Centre in south London.
found a literal computer factory inside the premises: Thousands
of magnetic strips and blank plastic cards, a library of 19,000
skimmed card and PIN details, holograms, card printers, corrupted
payment terminals and 20,000 pounds in cash.
gave himself up to the police after learning that his accomplices
had been arrested in Thailand and at London's airports.
Times has revealed that Patel compared himself to a computer
thief featured in an English film. He thought he was like
Frank Abnagale, the con artist played by Leonardo DiCaprio
in "Catch Me If You Can".
Patel once called Detective Sergeant Simon Russen, who was
hunting him after the bust, and told him that the policeman
was like the FBI agent played by Tom Hanks in the film. УCatch
me if you can,Ф he is said to have told Russsen during the
the case came to court, prosecutor David Povall said Patel
had earlier been jailed for two years for a credit card fraud
in France a decade ago.
who lived in Thornton Heath in South London, was born in India
and came to Britain at the age of two. He obtained a degree
in computer sciences from Kingston University in 2006, leading
police to believe that he was trying to beat the chip-and-PIN
system even as he was studying.