A gang has been sentenced for hacking thousands of BT and PayPal accounts to buy £358,000 in luxury goods including Rolex and Versace clothes.
Eight defendants appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud offences that took place between May 2014 and July 2016.
The group also bought Breitling watches, jewellery, furniture and televisions after targeting more than 2,000 people across the UK – mostly in the Hampshire and Portsmouth areas, according to prosecutors.
Judge Timothy Mousley QC told the defendants: “Whilst the financial loss falls to be met by the financial institutions, the impact on those who had their details stolen cannot be underestimated.
“Many of them speak of their heightened levels of anxiety, stress and fear as a result of finding out their accounts had been hacked.”
Prosecutor Michael Forster said used the gang stolen personal details to access the accounts and diverted receipt and delivery messages and emails so that victims were unaware of the fraud.
He added: “This was a sophisticated conspiracy to commit fraud which persisted for about two years.
“The personal details of a large number of members of the public, many who were BT or PayPal customers, were obtained by the fraudsters.
“The customers’ finances were used to fraudulently order high-value goods such as watches, jewellery, televisions as well as more mundane items such as furniture or food.”
In a statement read to the court, a victim said he was “fearful” of making financial transactions and added: “I remain angry because no one has the right to have taken the money I have worked hard for.”
Festus Emosivwe, 36, of Portsmouth, was at the centre of the conspiracy, and the court was told he would get the personal details, place the orders and arrange deliveries.
He was jailed for three years and eight months for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Chloe Maylott, 27, of Havant, was sentenced to 16 months and Charles Onwu, 31, of Portsmouth, was sentenced to three years and seven months for the same offence as Emosivwe.
Adel Qadir, 35, of Portsmouth, was sentenced to two years and five months, Molade Fasuyi, 37, of Southsea, was jailed for two years and Olukayode Adepoju, 40, of Portsmouth, was sentenced to 19 months.
Victor Ngo, 30, of Portsmouth, was jailed for three years and seven months for the same charge and conspiracy to convert criminal property.
Pinelopi Chatzikonstantinou, 30, of Southsea, was fined £1,000 and told to pay a £100 victim surcharge for conspiracy to convert criminal property.
The gang’s crimes were uncovered when BT found they had links to Hampshire.
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