Six men and one woman have admitted a seven-year £10m conspiracy to commit fraud and launder money. The defendants used false identities and falsely obtained driving licences or passports to open bank accounts in the assumed names. Faisal Osman represented the first Defendant (who received a five year custodial sentence upon an agreed basis).
Prosecutors characterised the fraud as "a continuous stream of criminality" carried out like a "businesslike venture" between 2003 and last year.
The accounts opened would be used by the account holder in what was an apparently proper manner building up a good credit rating and profile. Funds were paid into the target accounts by the defendants from other accounts which had been opened. A feature of the accounts operated by the defendants using false identities is the movement of funds into and then out of business accounts which gives the impression of a successful business.
A purported sense of security would be built up in the corporate mind of the banks concerned. Once that had been established applications would be made for loans and overdrafts. As soon as credit had been authorised, funds were withdrawn, mostly via cash machine withdrawals.
When these facilities had been drawn upon to their maximum extent, the accounts were left in default, leaving the financial institutions with significant losses.
The Crown maintained that the defendants assumed at least 80 false identities and over a period of 7 years losses have been caused to the Banks of over £9,900,000 from loan, overdraft and credit card accounts that have been defaulted upon.