City of London Police marks International Fraud Awareness Week by celebrating force’s top achievements of 2023
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A fraudster likened to the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ being jailed for 14 years, a hacker being convicted of stealing unreleased Ed Sheeran music and an organised crime group being jailed for more than 22 years are some of the key milestones achieved by City of London Police (CoLP) so far this year.
This week is International Fraud Awareness Week (12 – 18 November) and CoLP is celebrating the work it does as the national lead force for fraud to mark the week.
Temporary Assistant Commissioner Nik Adams said:
“Being the national lead force for fraud means that no week is the same for our specialist fraud teams. Fraud investigations can be incredibly lengthy and complex and this year has already been a fantastic year for the City of London Police, which is a real testament to all the hard work done by our teams.
“International Fraud Awareness Week is important to recognise across law enforcement, government, banking industry and private sector, as it takes a whole system approach to effectively tackle fraud.
“Throughout the upcoming year we are re-doubling our efforts to put victims at the heart of everything we do through the replacement system for Action Fraud coming into effect, the government’s National Fraud Strategy continuing to be implemented and new laws coming into power under the Online Safety Act and the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act.”
Here are some of the key achievements of CoLP’s fraud teams since the start of 2023:
Earlier this year, a man who ran a Ponzi-style investment scam worth in excess of £70 million, was jailed for 14 years after being found guilty of seven charges, including fraud by false representation, fraudulent trading and money laundering. He was also disqualified from being a director of a company for 25 years.
The sentence came after a complex investigation by the CoLP Fraud Operations team, which spanned a number of years, with officers coming back from retirement to see the case reach a conclusion. One retired officer, Simon Cordell, received the outstanding investigator award at this year’s Tackling Economic Crime Awards for his work on the case.
Future proofing the replacement for Action Fraud
Next year will see the launch of the new fraud and cybercrime reporting service to replace Action Fraud. This year’s focus has been on building a system that operates proactively in preventing fraud and cybercrime, and futureproofing has been central to this change, with the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
Among the changes, the new system will provide faster responses for victims and enhance the NFIB’s ability to provide packages to forces nationally for consideration for investigation. You can read more about the new service here.
Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU)
A hacker who was jailed after he stole unreleased music owned by artists including Ed Sheeran and released it on the dark web in exchange for cryptocurrency, was ordered to handover £101,503 or face an additional 18 months in prison.
Adrian Kwiatkowski, 24, of Hampton Road, Ipswich, was given three months to pay the sum. It was made up of £51,975 held in a bank account and Bitcoin worth £49,528, making it the first confiscation order of cryptocurrency secured by the City of London Police. Kwiatkowski was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment at Ipswich Crown Court after an investigation by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).
Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED)
A court granted a confiscation order earlier this year against a serial fraudster who was jailed after he orchestrated over 60 fraudulent motor insurance claims. Hamid Sediqi, 38, of Somervell Road, Harrow, was given three months to hand over assets worth £210,000 and failure to make the payment within three months will result in Sediqi facing an additional five years imprisonment.
The OCG members recruited bank insiders and together they accessed customers’ bank account details to steal their money, using people pretending to be genuine customers in branch to carry out withdrawals and transfer money to accounts under the OCG’s control.
The DCPCU obtained key evidence linking the bank insiders to the OCG, including CCTV footage, fake IDs, mobile phone messages and large amounts of cash at the criminals’ homes.
As national lead force for fraud, CoLP has led and supported on national fraud intensification periods. In May, the Lead Force Operations Room (LFOR) led Operation Dupers, an intensification to target courier fraud at source, by dismantling call centres used by suspects to call vulnerable victims.
With support from the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), CoLP’s Intelligence Development Team (IDT) and operational teams, a number of warrants were carried out and more than 40 victims were safeguarded.
CoLP also coordinated 43 forces and eight regional organised crime units (ROCUs) for the NECC-funded Operation Henhouse in February. The operation saw 58 warrants executed across the UK, a total of 290 arrests, made for a range of fraud offences and in excess of £6.2 million in assets seized.
CoLP has also worked across the world in numerous different ways:
The force has welcomed a number of delegates over the years, including individuals from South Korea and Japan. Most recently, CoLP hosted senior prosecutors and police leaders from Tanzania to discuss organised crime groups operating in the UK.
Temporary Assistant Commissioner Nik Adams recently visited Ghana and Nigeria to meet with local law enforcement to strengthen relationships to help disrupt organised crime groups (OCGs) and protect the UK.
This summer, representatives from PIPCU visited La Liga and Policia Nacional in Madrid to discuss opportunities for collaborative working as part of joint efforts to disrupt illegal streaming sites.
As part of CoLP’s work with Homeland Security Investigations and the New York County District Attorney’s Office, the force continues to have two officers on secondment in New York. The officers play a key role in facilitating greater intelligence sharing and encouraging a partnership approach to tackling economic crime.
The force works closely with INTERPOL and Europol to share information to help track down and arrest wanted criminals.
James Thomson, Chair of the City of London Police Authority Board, said:
“This year’s International Fraud Awareness Week is a chance to recognise the need for a whole system response to policing fraud. Fraud in England and Wales may be the most common crime type, but we have enforcement at all levels tackling the issue.
“This has been demonstrated through collaborative teams, such as the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, all of whom have come about through our relationships with the financial and professional service sector.
“Additionally, critical legislation like the Online Safety Act and the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, place more responsibilities on private companies and builds on the collaborative approach we’ve taken over the past decades to tackle fraud.
“So, whether it be our national lead force teams or local forces playing their role to address fraud, this week should be a reminder to all that there is a whole system working to pursue, prevent and arrest fraudsters.”