Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 15:22 UK

Card-cloning fraudsters face jail

Chip and Pin machine
People were filmed inputting their pin numbers

A gang who ran a 250,000 fraud using credit and debit cards cloned at petrol stations they had bought face jail, a judge has said.

They filmed people inputting pin numbers then cloned cards at a house in Coventry, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Sombalu Jeyaganesh, 34, of Merseyside, Ariyakunathasa Pirathesan, 28, of Coventry, and Sivanesan Mayilvaganam, 28, of Surrey, admitted involvement.

They will be sentenced on Monday for conspiring to defraud clearing banks.

The offences took place between January 2007 and March this year.

The court was told the gang had used the cloned cards in transactions around the world.

Covert cameras

Chris Coltart, prosecuting, said: "The vast majority of credit cards in this case were being used at petrol stations.

"All of the evidence suggests it was petrol stations used to capture electronic data and physically film customers entering their pin numbers.

"This can be done by fraudsters acquiring petrol stations and running them as legitimate businesses and alternatively bribing staff working there already."

When officers raided a house in Winsford Avenue, Coventry, they found thousands of blank white cards with magnetic strips attached and some with pin numbers written on them.

They also seized a laptop, computers and memory sticks detailing hundreds of "compromised" cards, a card reader and a BP name badge.

Jeyaganesh, who was found asleep in an upstairs bedroom, was arrested and a "commercial valuation" for a petrol station in Bootle, Merseyside, was found.

Further raids found "footage from covert cameras of pin numbers being inputted into pads" at a storage facility in Leicester.

Jeyaganesh, 34, of Allan Drive, Rainhill, Merseyside, had initially claimed he was a visitor at the house.

But before the prosecution could finish its case he changed his plea to guilty.

Pirathesan, of Winsford Avenue, Coventry, and Mayilvaganam, of Garden Avenue, Mitcham, had already admitted involvement.




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