The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit which tackles the organised criminal groups responsible for financial fraud and scams, made 136 arrests and prevented almost £30m in fraud in 2017, new figures reveal.
The unit secured 89 convictions in 2017, a 14 per cent increase compared to 78 convictions the previous year. In addition, it recovered over 21,000 compromised card numbers.
Estimated savings from the recovery of items used to commit fraud such as compromised account details, compromised cards and skimming equipment, totalled £9.8m. Savings from disrupting criminal activity amounted to an estimated £19.6m. Around £1.14m of assets were blocked or seized, while £99,000 was seized in cash and £162,000 was awarded in compensation.
The DCPCU is a unique pro-active police unit sponsored by the banking industry and made up of officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service, bank investigators and support staff from UK Finance. Since it was established in April 2002, the DCPCU has achieved an estimated £516 million in savings from reduced fraud activity.
Some of the top operational successes by the DCPCU unit in 2018 include:
- Case study 1: A prolific organised crime group involved in actively recruiting bank insiders were identified, with a DCPCU investigation uncovering a systematic attack on a range of high street banks with potential losses of over £5.7 million. The three main offenders, Alexander Tetteh, Christian Poku and David Thomas-Clarke recruited bank insiders, post office workers and other criminal associates. Their aim was to steal customer details from the banks systems, then documents and cards in the post, before carrying out frauds in the banks. The three were each sentenced to between four and five years in prison.
- Case study 2: A man who bought compromised card details on the dark web and recruited a delivery driver to intercept the fraudulent orders he placed was jailed for three years following a DCPCU investigation. Ademola Bolumole used the compromised card details to make up to 20 online purchases a day at a large retailer, buying electrical goods, clothing and aftershave. Bolumole recruited Enoc Gyau, a delivery driver, to intercept the packages. Gyau was sentenced to two years in jail while Bolumole was sentenced to three years. The crimes took place between January and February 2016, with total losses of £137,000. All losses were refunded to the genuine card holders.
- Case Study 3: A gang of five fraudsters were jailed for their involvement in the theft of £610,000 from business bank accounts, following an investigation by the DCPCU. The case involved a man purporting to be the director of the companies that he targeted; earning him the nickname ‘Company Director.’ Victor Oke used stolen data provided by accomplice Desmond Uyiosa Abifade to falsely impersonate company directors via telephone banking. Once Oke gained access, he diverted funds to ‘mule’ beneficiary accounts. Oke’s wife Melinda Mensah-Oke also impersonated company directors when a female voice was necessary, while Arinola Kuye acted as the group’s money launderer. Several hundred thousand pounds worth of available assets were identified, including houses, high value vehicles and cash, which will be used to satisfy the confiscation orders secured at court, and repay victims.
- Case study 4: A man producing false cards was arrested and sentenced to two and a half years after a DCPCU investigation. Mohammed Mohamed was arrested at his home address where officers found all the makings of a card factory, with a printer, blank cards, foils, encoders and embossers all recovered alongside mobile phones, computers and a quantity of cash. The devices seized contained 4,413 unique bank card details which were shared with the banking industry, helping to prevent thousands of pounds in fraud.
Head of Unit of the DCPCU, Detective Chief Inspector Glyn Whittick, said:
“We are successfully creating a hostile environment for criminals committing fraud.
“Through close collaboration between the police and the banking industry, we can stamp out fraud and the criminal gangs behind it.
“Dozens of fraudsters are now behind bars while millions of pounds of fraud has been prevented thanks to the hard work of our officers and staff, working closely with the industry.
“With fraudsters using increasingly sophisticated techniques to try and scam people, it’s vital that everyone follows the advice of the Take Five campaign and stops and thinks if they are ever asked for your personal or financial details.
“Remember, no bank or genuine organisation will ever contact you out of the blue and ask you to transfer money to another account.”
Notes to Editor
- For more information, please contact the UK Finance press office on 0207 416 6750 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) is a unique pro-active police unit, with a national remit, formed as a partnership between UK Finance, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police together with the Home Office. It is fully sponsored by the cards and banking industries, with an on-going brief to investigate, target and, where appropriate, arrest and seek successful prosecution of offenders responsible for card, cheque and payment fraud crimes. It is headed up by a Detective Chief Inspector and comprises officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police forces who work alongside banking industry fraud investigators and support staff.