PAY THE PRICE: Man jailed after being found guilty of laundering over £900,000
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A man has been jailed for laundering over £900,000, after a bank was duped into making a transfer, following a fraudulent email from someone purporting to be one of their clients.
Mark Swain, 62, of Dowanhill Road, Lewisham, South London, was sentenced to four years imprisonment for money laundering on Friday 8 October 2021 at Inner London Crown Court. He was previously found guilty at the same court on Wednesday 15 September 2021.
Detective Sergeant Joby Reeve, from the City of London Police, said:
“Money laundering, the process of legitimising money gained from criminal activities, is an integral stage in the fraud lifecycle and enables many forms of organised crime.
“This sentence sends out a strong message to those individuals involved in enabling financial crime: you will be found out and City of London Police will continue to pursue and prosecute those suspected of facilitating economic crime.”
The City of London Police launched an investigation in October 2017, after a bank was duped into transferring £908,316.52 to a bank account they were led to believe belonged to a client.
Shortly afterwards, the bank received another transfer request for a larger amount of money. As it was soon after the last transfer the request was deemed unusual, so the client was contacted and they confirmed they had not requested either transfer.
Upon further inspection, it was discovered that the requests originated from an email address very similar to that of their client, and the bank had been subject to a business email compromise (BEC) attack. The email actually belonged to criminals purporting to be the client.
The bank had already processed the first transfer request and the funds were sent to a bank account owned and operated by Swain. Upon receiving the funds, he transferred the money to various overseas bank accounts over a three-day period in October 2017.
Although not suspected to be involved in the initial BEC attack, Swain was arrested for money laundering in 2017 and interviewed a number of times during the investigation in relation to receiving and distributing the £908,316.52.
Swain claimed that he received the money after he sold a villa that he owned in Turkey in 2014. He claimed that the money was for payment of the villa and to pay the contractors who were renovating the villa for the buyer. After the initial transfers were made, Swain was left with approximately £150,000.
The jury at Inner London Crown Court unanimously found Swain guilty of money laundering following a seven day trial in September 2021.
What is business email compromise fraud?
Business email compromise (BEC) fraud is a form of cyber crime which uses email fraud to target commercial organisations. This can take the form of a spoof email fraudulently representing an employer in order to deceive the victim into making money transfers into the bank account of the fraudster.
Unlike standard phishing emails, these are crafted to appeal to specific individuals and are often used to perpetrate payment diversion fraud. For information and advice relating to the identification and prevention of payment diversion fraud and business email compromise visit, visit Action Fraud’s website.