COURTESY BY: https://www.hindustantimes.com/
Two Indian-origin men have been jailed for a total of 12 years and nine months following an international £2.4 million money-laundering operation and attempt to launder a further £1.6 million, Scotland Yard said on Saturday.
Vijaya Kumar Krishnasamy, 32, and Chandrasekar Nallayan, 44, were sentenced by the Croydon Crown Court on Friday for money laundering and fraud offences around the world.
The police said they received a report in 2018 from Barclays Bank that several IP addresses were repeatedly accessing multiple business accounts suspected of being utilised for money laundering. The IP addresses were traced to properties in the Croydon area.
On May 2, 2019, a search warrant was executed at one of these addresses and Krishnasamy was arrested. A search revealed hundreds of pages of documents relating to dozens of suspicious businesses and hundreds of bank accounts.
His mobile phone contained thousands of images of him accessing various suspect accounts online or withdrawing cash from ATMs. From the evidence on Krishnasamy’s mobile phone, Nallayan was identified as another suspect.
The court was told that he was directing Krishnasamy where to transfer the criminal funds. Detectives discovered he owned or controlled ‘mule’ accounts that were being used to funnel the money through.
‘Mule’ bank accounts are those controlled by fraudsters instead of their legitimate holders. The accounts are sourced from dishonest people who were prepared to ‘sell on’ their own bank accounts for a fee whilst knowing that they would be used for fraud.
In total, 24 companies that were victim to the scam were identified from around the world.
They would receive a fraudulent email claiming to be from their client, who had previously invoiced them, informing them about a change of their bank account details.
The company, believing they were paying their genuine clients, transferred money to the suspect bank account. They would not know that they had been defrauded until their real client started chasing the payment.
By that time, the majority of money in these suspected ‘mule’ business accounts was transferred out of the UK and could not be recovered. Krishnasamy entered a guilty plea, admitting to having access to ‘mule’ accounts via online banking, monitoring these accounts, and transferring funds as directed. He knew that the funds were the proceeds of crime.
Nallayan pleaded not guilty to conspiring to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property, but was convicted for all offences after a trial in the Croydon Crown Court.
Detective constable Milena Bingley said: “This shameless pair have caused untold distress and worry to their victims. This case shows that those responsible for money laundering will be tracked down and face up to their crimes”.