A gang of fraudsters has been sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison for using a Trojan computer virus to steal around £600,000 from UK bank accounts.
Azamat Rahmonov, Shohruh Fayziev, Joao Dos Santos Cruz, Paulo Jorgi and Edgar Orlando Henriques had all earlier pleaded guilty to their crimes at Southwark Crown Court.
The court heard how the gang's victims would inadvertently download the Trojan which would then wait until they logged on to their online bank account. Once access had been gained, the virus would call out to a server and request a page to be inserted into the customer's online session.
This new page would pop up and mirror the design of the victim's genuine NatWest bank page, and encourage them to enter personal data.
The virus then retrieved a sort code and account number used by the gang and created a new payee on the customer's account without their knowledge. Later on that day a third party would access the account and transfer the available funds to a 'mule' or 'dump' account.
When the stolen funds were transferred to the 'mule accounts' an "extremely well-organised operation" saw the network withdraw the stolen cash over the counter at various bank branches using the 'money mules'.
After the mules were given their cut, the majority of the money was sent back to eastern Europe and Russia via money transfer bureaus.
The men were arrested in April, when more than 50 officers from the Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), local boroughs and Specialist Crime Directorate raided addresses in south-east London.
Assistant Commissioner Janet Williams, ACPO lead for e-crime, says: "Today's sentencing sends a clear message to those who use cyber crime to target UK victims. Due to effective partnerships with the financial industry we have successfully closed down an international criminal network and reduced the financial harm to institutions and thousands of UK victims by millions of pounds."