by Elsa McLaren and agencies
One of the world's most successful identity theft gangs who defrauded
bank account holders in Britain, America and several European
countries out of millions of pounds are behind bars today.
The gang created hundreds of false identities and used huge numbers of
cloned credit cards to buy electrical goods, which were later sold on
the website eBay.
Police believe the lucrative international operation could have been
running for 10 years and generated millions of pounds for the members.
Anton Dolgov, a former boss of the Moscow City Bank, was at the heart
of the operation and ran offices in north Kensington and Spain. He was
known under a number of aliases including Anton Gelonkin, the name he
appeared under at London's Harrow Crown Court.
A police investigation was prompted after Spanish authorities arrested
gang member Andreas Fuhrmann, who is currently awaiting trial in
Spain. An international arrest warrant was issued for Anthony Peyton,
one of Gelonkin's aliases.
Gelonkin was tracked down by police after he reported a break-in at
his headquarters at BusPace Studios. After a police check the Interpol
warrant issued for his arrest was flagged up.
Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime unit raided the gang's
premises where they discovered a huge amount of evidence.
However, much of it was lost when gang member Aleksei Kostap, while
handcuffed, managed to leap off a sofa to flick a power switch on the
ceiling which wiped the computer databases and triggered layers of
encryption. Despite efforts of police IT experts, the system has
proved impregnable and its secrets will probably remain beyond reach
Kostap, 31, an Estonian national, denied his involvement in the scam
and instead said that he had been framed by Gelonkin.
But, today he was found guilty of conspiracies to defraud, obtain
services by deception, acquire, use and possess criminal property, and
conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property. He
was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice by shutting
down the power to the PCs.
He is due to be sentenced on December 13, along with Gelonkin, 42, who
admitted four charges of conspiracy and Romanos Vasilauskas, 24, who
pleaded guilty to possessing three false passports.
David Hewett, for the prosecution, told the court that, while the
fraud was thought to have lasted up to a decade, the charges covered
just an 18-month period between June 2003 and January last year when
the gang was arrested. During that time the gang managed to pocket at
least 750,000 pounds.
"However, it is quite clear the total amount of money defrauded will
probably never be known," he explained.
The operation's ultimate mastermind is thought to have been a shady
underworld figure called Kaljusaar, who has never been caught.
Police discovered bogus passports, council tax documents, electoral
registration applications, and bank statements as well as employment
references from both an unsuspecting firm of solicitors and a fake one
that were used to create false identities.
Cloned credit cards were used to buy cameras, computers, iPods,
computer games, Royal Mint coin collection sets and other goods such
as Liverpool FC strips from a variety of website traders. These items
were then auctioned on eBay.
The gang also used stolen credit card details to set up online
gambling accounts and directed the winnings into bank accounts they
had created in false names.
They also used the compromised credit cards to make thousands of small
payments to WorldPay and PayPal accounts which they later banked.
Copyright 2006 Reuters.
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Date: 8 Dec 2006 10:37:22 -0800
Subject: Article on Mobile/Cell Phone History
X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 25, Issue 409, Message 3 of 7
The magazine, American Heritage of Invention & Technology, Winter 2007,
has two feature articles on cell phone history.
The first article deals with the history of developing cells. The
second article deals with hand held telephone development by Motorola.
It also discusses the relationship between Motorola, who developed and
manufactured the components, and AT&T that provided the service.
There is a supplemental article on Picturephone.
This issue also contains articles on making snow, the U-2 spy plane,
and metal fatigue prevention.
The magazine is found at better newstands under INVENTION & TECHNOLOGY.