Hairdresser and Drug Councilor Ran Money Laundering Scheme

August 25, 2010 International Tax Cooperation

computer laptop keyboard HP Pavilion Entertainment PCFour UK citizens are facing money-laundering charges after allegedly using online music services to wrongfully receive over USD 300 000 in illicit royalties, with the support of eight individuals who are now charged with fraud.

An investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s eCrime unit (PCeU), with international assistance from the FBI, has resulted in four UK nationals being reprimanded and charged with money laundering, while another eight are being accused of conspiracy to defraud. The group is alleged to have used US-formed companies to upload 20 of their own musical files onto the online services iTunes Store and Amazon, and used over 1 500 stolen credit cards to make repeated purchases of those files. The suspects are thought to have received USD 300 000 in royalties, which were deposited into their US company. According to investigators an approximate USD 750 000 was charged to the stolen credit cards.

Media attention has been drawn to the eclectic spread of occupations held by the accused. The four facing money laundry sentences consist of a hairdresser, a drug counselor and two unemployed. While the eight suspects charged with fraud include a care-worker, a librarian, a teacher, a postal-worker, and six unemployed. The accused range in ages, between 19 and 41. The FBI is currently investigating how the group met and who was responsible for orchestrating the scheme.

Commenting on the seemingly successful inquiry Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson, from the PCeU, said: “This investigation, with its national and international dimension, exemplifies why we have set up this national response to e-crime… it shows the success that can be achieved through our close working relationship with the FBI.” Private sector reactions to the case have been positive, with financial sector and e-commerce experts praising the results.

Photo by GoodNCrazy