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Man found guilty of scamming a company out of over £240,000

17 May, 2018 14:29 News Behind Bars

A man who used a fake email address to dupe companies into paying money into a bank account he had access to, costing a British firm £240,000, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Peter Chinaka, 62, of Hengrove Crescent in Ashford, created a fake email address which used the name of someone working in the accounts team of a British company involved in developing software for the computer chip industry. 
With a number of customers across the globe, Chinaka, working with others, mainly targeted those based in China. Using the false email address, the 62-year-old would ask the targeted companies to issue payments for any future work to a bank account he had access to. 

Despite the British company having basic fraud detection measures in place, multiple payments totaling £240,000 were made by customers, into the fraudster's bank account over December 2015 and January 2016. 

Chinaka was arrested on 16 June 2016 and released on bail while the investigation continued. 

After the Surrey Police Digital Forensics team and financial investigators found significant evidence, Chinaka was charged with money laundering on 20 Feburary 2017. 
Detective Sergeant Ben Kirby of Surrey Police said:

"This was a clear attempt to defraud a business by convincing customers to send all future payments to a different bank account. The scam went undetected as it did not impact on a single transaction but an entire process. The man responsible was fueled by greed and saw this business as a target. He will now spend time behind bars as a result of his actions.

"Although it's unfortunate that the British company in question has been a victim here, it emphasises the need for valid, effective cyber-security software to reduce the risk of breaches such as email addresses being cloned. 

"If you're asked to change the bank details of those you regularly pay, we recommend calling the company or individual who has asked directly and confirm this over the phone. Also, keep a close eye on spelling in emails. Emails such as the one involved in this case, and other phishing emails often have poor spelling and grammar which is often a sign that it is a scam."

Take Five, a national campaign offering advice to everyone for protection against financial fraud, reveals key signs to look for around email-enabled scams: 
- The email has not been personalised and does not use your proper name and instead says "Dear Customer".
- You are being asked to act immediately. 
- There’s a prominent website link which may seem like the proper address, but with one character different.
- There’s a request for personal information.
- The entire text of the email is within an image rather than the usual text format and the image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site. 

More information about how to prevent becoming a victim of an invoice scams can be found here:

Chinaka was found guilty of  money laundering and sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on 16 May. 



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