Phishing gang jailed for £200,000 eBay scam

The leader of an identity fraud gang which conned eBay buyers out of nearly £200,000 was jailed for four years yesterday.

David Levi is believed to be the first person convicted in Britain of ‘phishing’ – stealing goods after tricking computer users into revealing their bank details.

The conman, 29, his brother Guy and IT expert Daniel Lett, both 22, set up a network of computers which sent out emails to eBay users claiming to be from the site.

People who replied usinkg a quick link, which appeared to send users to the eBay website, were in fact connected to the criminal’s computers. Sellers were then asked to tap in their log-in passwords, unwittingly handing them over to the fraudsters.

The gang then redirected emails meant for the true account holder to their mail boxes and offered ‘valuable’, but non existent, goods for sale, such as Rolex watches and laptops. After sellers ‘won’ the items and paid for them the gang disappeared.

More than 160 people were duped in the scam between July 2003 and July 2004, Preston Crown Court heard. Levi, of Lytham, Lancashire, spent his share of the £197,000 in casinos and on luxury cars and a £7,000 family Caribbean cruise.

He admitted fraud and perverting the cause of justice. He is already servikng a four-year prison sentence for drug offences.

Guy Levi and Lett, both of St Anne’s, Lancashire, received shorter terms after admitting fraud offences, while four gang members were jailed for money laundering.

Jailing Levi, Judge Phillip Sycamore said: ‘You demonhstated an arrogant and callous approach enjoying an extravagant lifestyle at the expense of victims of this fraud.’

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