UK’s largest fraud investigation leads to important prosecution

A man has pleaded guilty to running a website that allowed criminals and fraudsters to appear as if they were calling from banks, tax offices and other official bodies in an attempt to defraud victims.

Tejay Fletcher ran a website called iSpoof, which allowed criminals to pretend to be workers at banks and tax offices. These fraudsters would call people at random, warning them of suspicious activity on their accounts.

Their job was to encourage people to disclose security information about their accounts, which in some cases allowed them to clear them of funds.

The average amount stolen was £10,000 but one victim was scammed out of £3 million.

The Metropolitan Police led the operation to close iSpoof down – the largest fraud investigation that has ever taken place in the UK – in June 2021, with the help of the authorities in the US, Ukraine and the Netherlands.

Investigators infiltrated the website, which had 59,000 users, and discovered 70 million rows of data and Bitcoin records, allowing them to begin to trace the suspects.

Chief of these was Fletcher, who received the largest share of the profits and was described as “living a lavish lifestyle”.

When the case came to court in April 2023, he pleaded guilty to making or supplying articles for use in fraud, encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, possessing criminal property and transferring criminal property.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Now that a conviction has been obtained the prosecution is likely to bring confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

“POCA proceedings are often complex and require forensic accountancy investigators to establish the value of the benefit of the criminal activities of those convicted. Any available assets, which could include high-value property, jewellery and vehicles can be seized and used to compensate victims.

“The burden of proof will be on Fletcher to show that any assets he owns were acquired legitimately.”

Posted in The Forensic Blog.