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Man jailed for leading £3m fraud using handmade card-copying devices made in Colchester shed

PUBLISHED: 19:36 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 19:36 14 February 2018

Skimmers allow scammers to obtain card details from ATMs. File picture: JAMES MORTLOCK

Skimmers allow scammers to obtain card details from ATMs. File picture: JAMES MORTLOCK

The ringleader behind a £3 million scam which featured card-copying devices being made out of a Colchester shed and distributed worldwide, has been jailed.

Alexandru Sovu, who has been jailed for 11 years for leading a gang which made skimming devices in a Colchester shed. Picture: BTP Alexandru Sovu, who has been jailed for 11 years for leading a gang which made skimming devices in a Colchester shed. Picture: BTP

Fraudster Alexandru Sovu, of Prospect Road in Reading was sentenced on Monday at Blackfriars Crown Court following a six week trial, where he was found guilty of conspiracy to make and supply articles for use in fraud, possession of criminal property, transferring criminal property and failing to supply a password.

The 39-year-old was the leader of a gang which manufactured ‘skimming’ devices – handmade devices attached to cash machines and ticket machines to obtain card data – which were being made in a shed in Harwich Road, Colchester.

Gang members would then distribute the devices and sell the card details to various criminal outfits globally, said to have generated £3m.

The devices obtained bank card data at banks, travel terminals, petrol pumps and London Underground stations, among other places.

Anca Fuioaga, who was sentenced for her involvement in a fraud operation. Picture: BTP Anca Fuioaga, who was sentenced for her involvement in a fraud operation. Picture: BTP

Sovu was given 11 years in prison during the sentencing, which he was absent from after absconding during his trial.

He is the latest gang member to jailed after six people were sentenced last year to a combined 25 years for building and distributing the devices, while 37-year-old Anca Fuioaga of Lodge Lane in Romford, who was part of a wider organised gang, was also sentenced to two and a half years for conspiracy to make and supply articles for fraud, and transferring criminal property.

The gang was stopped when British Transport Police officers saw suspects interfering with rail ticket machines.

Detective Constable Terry Botten from BTP said: “This was a long and protracted investigation into Sovu and the gang he ran.

“He is a professional criminal and he ran a organised network that was living off criminal proceeds stolen from people around the world. The reality is their activity can and does have a marked impact on private individuals and financial establishments.

“This has been a lengthy investigation to unpick the group’s set-up and identify those involved, and I am pleased that they have now been sentenced and will serve prison sentences for their crimes.”

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