“This shameless pair have caused untold distress"
Two men have been jailed for a total of 12 years and nine months following a £2.4 million online banking fraud operation.
They had attempted to launder a further £1.6 million.
Croydon Crown Court heard that in 2018, police received a report from Barclays Bank that several IP addresses were repeatedly accessing multiple business accounts suspected of being used for money laundering.
Officers traced the IP addresses to properties in the Croydon area.
On May 2, 2019, a search warrant was executed at one of these addresses and Vijaya Kumar Krishnasamy was arrested.
A search revealed hundreds of pages of documents relating to dozens of suspicious businesses and hundreds of bank accounts.
His phone contained thousands of images of him accessing various suspect online banking accounts or withdrawing cash from ATMs.
Chandrasekar Nallayan was identified as another suspect based on the evidence from Krishnasamy’s phone.
Nallayan had been directing Krishnasamy as to where to transfer the criminal funds. Detectives discovered he owned or controlled ‘mule’ accounts that were being used to funnel the money through.
A total of 24 companies fell victim to the scam and were from around the world.
Victims had believed they were paying their clients when in actual fact, they were sending money to Krishnasamy and Nallayan, who were posing as the legitimate suppliers.
They did not know they had been scammed until their real clients started chasing the payment.
By that time, the majority of money in the ‘mule’ business accounts were transferred out of the UK.
There were 16 victims who had paid funds into these ‘mule’ accounts. The total value was in excess of £2.4 million.
The other eight victims realised that the emails were not genuine. They reported the emails to their bank or the police.
On February 11, 2020, Krishnasamy pleaded guilty to conspiring to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property between February 1, 2018, and May 1, 2019.
He admitted to having access to the relevant ‘mule’ accounts through online banking, monitoring the accounts and transferring funds as directed. He was aware that the funds were the proceeds of crime.
Nallayan pleaded not guilty to conspiring to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property between the same dates but was convicted following a trial.
On May 29, 2020, both men were jailed.
Nallayan, aged 44, of Norfolk, was jailed for seven years.
Krishnasamy, aged 32, of Croydon, was jailed for five years and nine months.
Detective Constable Milena Bingley, from the Met’s Central Specialist Crime – Economic Crime Unit, said:
“This shameless pair have caused untold distress and worry to their victims.
“This case shows that those responsible for money laundering will be tracked down and face up to their crimes.
“We will work closely with the banking industry to target organised criminal networks.”
“This conviction should be a warning to those who believe they can benefit from money laundering, and get away with it.
“This was a complicated case and I would like to thank our partners in the banking sector and the Cyber Defence Alliance for their support and assistance during this investigation.”
Steven Wilson, CEO of the Cyber Defence Alliance, said:
“The Cyber Defence Alliance (CDA) were delighted to work with the MPS on Op Palcalla, a first-class excellent example of public-private partnerships being used to tackle those organised criminal networks targeting the financial sector, their customers and using money muling networks to cash out their criminal gains.
“The CDA were able to undertake background investigations with their member banks, identify significant criminal activity and provide the MPS with actionable intelligence that led to the arrest and conviction of a prolific criminal and the disruption of his criminal network.”
A Barclays Bank spokesperson, said: “We continue to be committed to supporting law enforcement in its efforts to combat criminality and protect customers’ funds.
“We worked with the Metropolitan Police Service during its investigation and welcome the outcome of the proceedings.”
Carl Roberts, of the CPS, said: “These men used social media platforms to make the stolen money appear legitimate, but the 90,000 pages of evidence in this case, proved that it was not.
“Comprehensive analysis by both the Met Police and the CPS’s specialist fraud division of their banking activity allowed the prosecution to prove the duo’s guilt beyond doubt, and they will now spend a collective time of nearly 13 years behind bars.
“Nallayan and Krishnasamy took more than £2million from victims and we will now be taking steps to recover this stolen money through Proceeds of Crime.”