Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 14:38 UK

Rochdale men jailed for iTunes gift voucher scam

Gang members (left to right, clockwise) Suhail Tufail, Mohammed Arfan Rasool, Kibriya Ahmad and Raja Zahid Iqbal
The men were sentenced on Friday

Five Rochdale men have been jailed for using iTunes music gift vouchers to launder money in an internet scam.

The men used stolen credit card numbers to buy £750,000 worth of vouchers to sell at cheaper prices through eBay.

They were caught when police stopped one of the men during a search at Hull port in 2007 and seized his laptop.

It led them to orchestrator Suhail Tufail, 26, who admitted fraud charges and was jailed for five years at Manchester Crown Court.

In May 2007, Humberside Ports police stopped three men - including Mohammed Arfan Rasool and Imran Aslam - as part of a routine search when they arrived from Amsterdam.

A "suspicious" laptop belonging to Rasool was seized and examined by Greater Manchester Police's economic crime unit.

This was a complex fraud on a large scale
Det Insp Neal Colburn

When officers examined the hard drive, along with two other computers found at his home, they found the details of more than 7,000 bank cards.

The same details were found on computers seized from Tufail.

They later discovered that many of the details had been used to fraudulently purchase iTunes gift certificates.

It emerged that Tufail developed the idea of buying the vouchers and then selling them at a reduced price to launder cash from the cards.

Det Insp Neal Colburn, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "This was a complex fraud on a large scale.

"The group thought they had a sophisticated scam to launder money, but the pro-active intervention of the police got in their way."

eBay 'delighted'

Tufail, 26, of Ashfield Road, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and possession of articles intended for use in fraud.

Rasool, 25, of Milkstone Road, pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to two years and five months.

The other man who was stopped in Hull, 23-year-old Aslam, of Whitworth Road, pleaded guilty to possession of articles intended for use in fraud and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

Two other men, Raja Zahid Iqbal and Kibriya Ahmad, were also sentenced on Friday.

Iqbal, 21, of Milkstone Road, admitted conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to convert criminal property and was sentenced to two years and five months in prison.

Ahmad, 25, of Marland Hill Road, pleaded guilty to money laundering. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

Three other men were sentenced to community orders for their part in the scam.

An eBay spokesperson said the company had worked closely with police to provide evidence and was "delighted" with the sentences.

"Criminal activity is not tolerated on our site and we will continue to work alongside law enforcement agencies to ensure that anyone who attempts to commit fraudulent activity on eBay won't get away with it," the added.

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