UK Phishers Caught, Packed Away

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Authorities in the UK have sentenced two men to prison for their role in a phishing scam, according to a statement from the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.

Douglas Havard and Lee Elwood were both found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder money, and were sentenced to a combined 10 years in prison. The two men ran a UK-based syndicate with links to Eastern European identity-theft rackets that is believe to have netted over 6.5 million pounds over two years, NHTCU said Monday.

Havard, 24, a U.S. citizen, was sentenced to six years in prison. Leeds, 25, of the United Kingdom, was sentenced to four years in prison, NHTCU said.

The two men were arrested in June 2004, following an NHTCU investigation, which was aided by the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A search of the Havard and Leeds homes turned up correspondence, documents and equipment used to create false identities, and evidence that the identities had been used to open bank accounts, the statement said.

The two men reportedly received large groups of stolen credit card information and passwords from unnamed individuals in Russia, then used those to purchase goods online and resell them, pocketing the proceeds and passing a cut along to their counterparts in Russia through money exchanges.

he two also trafficked in stolen identity information and documents, including driver's licenses, passports and birth certificates, NHTCU said.

Havard and Leeds were active in Internet communities that traded stolen credit card data, including Shadowcrew.com and Carderplanet.com. The two even moderated news groups at those sites, NHTCU said.

In October, the U.S. Secret Service announced arrests in Operation Firewall, which targeted sites like Shadowcrew.com, Carderplanet.com and key members of the online carding community.

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