A man has been sentenced to three years in jail for fraudulently using international passports, identity cards and false utility bills to open various online gaming accounts to take advantage of bonus bets being offered by operators.
Andrei Osipau, 35, was apprehended following a joint investigation by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service Gambling Unit, Project Amberhill, and the UK Gambling Commission.
In the first prosecution of its kind, Osipau was found to have commited 'Bonus Abuse', the practice of using other people's identities to open online betting accounts to take advantage of bonus bets on offer.
He also used online payment institutions to transfer the criminal gains from the online betting account and opened bank accounts under false names. Osipau is said to have made nearly £80,000 from the activity.
“This joint investigation with the Gambling Commission demonstrates the Met's commitment to combating high tech organised crime,” said Detective Inspector Ann-Marie Waller, head of the Met's Gaming Unit. “The sentence imposed by the judge today should deter anyone considering committing crime involving stolen or compromised identities."
The scam was identified on February 26th 2011 when an online betting company received two UK passports bearing different names but the same image within 12 minutes of each other. The matter was subsequently reported to the Gambling Commission who passed it on to the Gaming Unit for investigation.
Met officers initially believed the passports were sent from two addresses in Hove and Eastbourne. Further investigations established that Osipau had masked his own IP address in order to prevent his actions being discovered.
At his address, officers discovered more than 5,900 scans of passports, identity cards, utility bills and bank statements relating to individuals from countries including the U.S, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Osipau was sentenced yesterday to three years imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court, having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to five counts of fraud, eight counts of possession of articles for use in fraud and one count of transferring criminal property.
“I expect and intend that you will be deported at the end of your sentence,” Judge Loraine-Smith told Osipau after his sentencing.