04/03/2012 : ONLINE GAMBLING IDENTITY THIEF CONVICTED
 
London man scored almost GBP 80,000 using fraudulent passports, identity cards and false utility bills
 
A London court fired a warning shot this week against online punters who employ false identities and documents in order to register at online casinos.
 
In what is believed to be one of the first prosecutions of its kind, Londoner Andrei Osipau (35) was convicted of stealing other people's identities and using fraudulent documents to open multiple online betting accounts in order to exploit bonus offers, This is Local London news reported Tuesday.
 
Prosecutors presented evidence that Osipau made nearly GBP 80,000 from online gambling after using fraudulent passports, identity cards and false utility bills to open various online accounts. He also used internet payment organisations to transfer the criminal proceeds from the online betting accounts to open bank accounts under false names.
 
Osipau was apprehended following a joint investigation by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Gambling Unit, Project Amberhill, and the UK Gambling Commission.
 
The accused was apparently not the sharpest knife in the drawer – his scam was identified on February 26 last year when an online betting company received two UK passports bearing different names but the same image within 12 minutes of each other.
 
The operator reported the incident to the Gambling Commission, which alerted the police and triggered an investigation. This eventually found that Osipau had masked his own IP address in order to disguise his identity and location.
 
When the police raided his home they discovered more than 5,900 scans of passports, identity cards, utility bills and bank statements relating to people from countries that included the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
 
Osipau was sentenced to three years imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court on April 3 2012.  He had pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud, eight counts on possession of articles for use in fraud and one count of transferring criminal property at an earlier hearing.
 
The head of the Met's Gaming Unit, Detective Inspector Ann-Marie Waller said: "This joint investigation with the Gambling Commission demonstrates the Met's commitment to combating high tech organised crime. The sentence imposed by the judge today should deter anyone considering committing crime involving stolen or compromised identities."