A man from south-east London who was involved in a global Olympics ticket fraud has been jailed for four years
The 44 year old man pleaded guilty to participating in a fraudulent business and concealing criminal property at a hearing last month.
Police said the fraud had netted at least £400,000 but the judge said he suspected the true figure was "a lot more". He was arrested by the Metropolitan Police's “Operation Poduim” investigating ticket fraud and touting connected to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Legitimate looking websites
The fraudulent websites were designed to look official and offered unlimited numbers of tickets, for all Olympic events, for sale.
A total of 485 people from around the world tried to buy tickets for the Games from 2012-londonsummergames.com and 2012-londonsummergames.org.
In five weeks alone the sites took over 450,000 euros in sales for non existent tickets to the Olympics. Detectives from Podium tracked the websites back to the former cab driver, who was based in Portugal.
He regularly travelled between Portugal and the UK and was arrested as he stepped off a flight from Portugal at Gatwick airport. A search of him by Detectives recovered 17,500 euros hidden in his shoes, cash from his fraudulent ticket sales.
Detective Superintendent Nick Downing, in charge of Operation Podium, said: "He was the first fraudster of this type we identified and the biggest.
]"This case clearly shows that online crime of this nature is not a victimless crime. Over 400 people missed out on a chance to be part of the London 2012 Olympic Games and instead were simply ripped off.
"He set up simple yet genuine looking sites, and made thousands within only five weeks. Podium were so concerned about people falling foul of his scam we issued a number of public warnings naming the sites to try to prevent additional people from getting conned. Once someone had bought their tickets, at vastly over inflated prices, they never heard from the website of his company again.
"These sites were picked up as part of our proactive monitoring of the internet and referrals from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) to spot and then prevent fraudsters like Ioannou from cashing in on the popularity of the Games - 340 websites were identified in this way.
"Never buy your tickets from anywhere but the official event organisers, or those people authorised to sell on their behalf."
Read more about the story on the BBC website.
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