Two fraudsters who ran an illegal credit card factory have been sentenced to a total of over five years in prison.
Following an investigation by the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) and the Westminster Police Chinese Unit, a factory manufacturing counterfeit payment cards was discovered at a flat in Hornsey Road, Haringey, London.
Items recovered included thermal printers to produce counterfeit cards, plastic cards and holograms. In addition, over £10,000 in cash, as well as gold ingots and other gold jewellery valued at between £8,000 and £10,000, was seized. A list of a number of stolen account numbers was also found at the address – 250 of them were already encoded onto the counterfeit cards and police recovered a further 450 compromised card details.
Police investigation unearths credit card factory
Southwark Crown Court heard how officers launched a proactive investigation into 28-year-old Cheng Chee Weng and 39-year-old Gabriel Yew, in March this year, following their arrest by Westminster Police’s Chinese Unit.
A plain clothes officer from the Westminster Chinese Unit was on patrol in Chinatown, central London, on 31 March this year, when he noticed a man handing over a sum of money in exchange for an envelope. He approached both men and asked them what they were doing. They offered no explanation for their actions so the officer opened the envelope, finding 11 counterfeit credit cards.
A search of Yew’s flat revealed a locked room downstairs, where a fully working counterfeit credit card factory was housed. Yew was arrested following this discovery. Weng was also arrested and found to be responsible for running errands as instructed by Yew.
What happens to the seized cash and jewellery?
Any assets or cash obtained through the criminal activity will now be subject to confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).
Detective Inspector Dee Bain, from the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, said of today’s result: ‘This case has come to a successful conclusion after only six months of investigation. This is testament to the exemplary partnership work that went on between the specialist detectives in the DCPCU and the Westminster Police Chinese Unit based at Charing Cross police station.
‘During the past eight years, the DCPCU has prevented an estimated £340 million of card and cheque fraud, and has been integral to the reduction in overall card fraud losses, which fell by 28 per cent last year.’
Take action to beat card fraud and ID fraud
For easy ways to protect yourself against card fraud, read the Which? guides How to beat identity fraud and the Protecting your personal details online.
If you spot a potential fraud, report it to Action Fraud, run by the National Fraud Authority. Action Fraud allows individuals to report fraud via the web or over the telephone (0300 123 2040), provides crime reference numbers and adds information about scams to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. 15,000 members of the public filed a report with Action Fraud in the first half of 2010.
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