Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 14:06 UK

Card-cloning fraudsters sentenced

Video of customer inputting PIN number at petrol station
Unwitting customers were filmed inputting their PIN numbers

Three men who admitted a card-cloning fraud which could have cost banks up to 3.5m have been jailed.

The men filmed customers inputting their PIN numbers at petrol stations then cloned the cards in Coventry.

Ariyakunathasa Pirathesan, 28, of Winsford Avenue, Coventry, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Sombalu Jeyaganesh, 34, of Rainhill, Merseyside, and Sivanesan Mayilvaganam, 28, of Mitcham, Surrey, were jailed at Southwark Crown Court for three years.

Jeyaganesh, of Allan Drive, and Mayilvaganam, of Garden Avenue, will be deported to Sri Lanka when their sentences are complete.

This was a massive, very determined, well-organised and sophisticated operation
Judge Martin Beddoe

All three had admitted conspiracy to defraud clearing banks between January 2007 and March this year.

Chris Coltart, prosecuting, said the amount of money stolen was 254,000 but the "average loss figures for compromised cards" suggested the fraud could eventually have cost banks up to 3.5m.

Judge Martin Beddoe described Pirathesan as a "very principal player" who lived at the "veritable fraud factory" where the cards were cloned.

Passing sentence, he told the men: "This was a massive, very determined, well-organised and sophisticated operation.

"This particular form of credit card fraud is becoming widespread.

"It is a real and significant scourge on the banking industry and the holders of their credit cards."

'Compromised' cards

He added that "substantial deterrent sentences" were needed in this case.

The court had heard the gang had cloned the cards at Pirathesan's home in Coventry and then used them in transactions around the world.

When his home was raided, officers found 4,500 blank white cards with magnetic strips attached.

Some had pin numbers written on them.

The details of hundreds of "compromised" cards were also found along with a laptop, computers, memory sticks, a card reader and a BP name badge.

Footage from secret cameras of pin numbers being inputted into pads was also found at a storage facility in Leicester.

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The gang set up secret cameras to capture credit card details




SEE ALSO
Card-cloning fraudsters face jail
11 Sep 08 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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