A computer expert has been gaoled for seven years for his part in the UK's biggest credit card fraud, which netted a criminal cloning gang £2 million over a three-year period.
In a trial at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court, Sunil Mahtani, 26, who worked in IT for Checkline Plc, the company that processed ticket sales for the Heathrow Express train service, pleaded guilty to downloading almost 9000 credit card numbers from the Checkline computer processing the transactions. The card details were passed on to a criminal cloning operation which used the numbers to fund buying sprees on the Continent.
Mahtani's lawyers said his client committed the crime to impress his merchant banker girlfried. He received an additional two-year sentence for posession of child pornography.
Two accomplices, Shahajan Miah and Shaidal Rahim each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and were gaoled for four years. Eight other people were arrested in connection with the crime and have been released on bail pending sentencing.
Passing sentence, Judge Simon Smith said that the swindle took advantage of our present-day system of buying and selling on cards, "and indeed goes a considerable way to undermine the whole process".