A Liverpool couple who allowed one of their bank accounts to be used by a fraudster have today, Thursday 7th October, been sentenced.
Jasmine Trott, 29, of Walton Breck Road, received two payments into her bank account - £44,665 on 14 August 2019 and £15,000 on 19 August 2019.
In the first case a Stockport based couple had sold a property through a solicitor’s firm and had been corresponding via email in regards to the transfer of funds.
The solicitors received an email from the couple's account confirming a change in bank details. The funds (£44,665.53) were transferred as requested but it was into the account of Trott.
The second case related to a construction development firm who believed they were paying a trusted contractor. The firm received an email stating the contractor’s bank account details had changed and an outstanding balance required paying. A payment of £15,000 was then authorised to a new bank account on the invoice, which was Trott’s bank account.
In both cases the email of the sending party had been compromised and offenders sent emails containing the bank account details of Trott.
Trott was today, Thursday 7 October, sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and 60 hours community service at Liverpool Crown Court after admitting three counts of money laundering. This included a charge for each of the transfers and a further charge for purchases made with the victim's funds, including large sums of Euro currency.
Her partner Richard Mademutsa, also 29 and of Walton Breck Road, was jailed for 12 months after admitting four counts of money laundering. These were identical to those for his partner, but with an additional charge for electronically transferring £30,000 to third parties in Nigeria.
Detective Constable Tony Madden, a cyber-crime investigator with Merseyside Police said: “I would like to take this opportunity to warn anyone who may be tempted to make what they wrongly see as ‘easy money’.
“If you are approached by someone who wants to use your bank account to channel ill-gotten cash, please refuse. It is not a victimless crime – ultimately that money will have been stolen or could be the proceeds from other forms of criminality causing harm in our communities.
“Allowing your account to be used in this way is an offence, and Trott and Mademutsa are now counting the cost of their mistake. Not only could it land you in prison, you will have a criminal record and it can affect your credit rating and ability to get a mortgage for years to come. It simply is not worth the risk.
“In both cases the victims were totally innocent and, unbeknown to them had had their emails compromised. If you recognise any suspicious activity on your bank account, have any concerns about a transaction or are asked to partake in such activity then please report it to the police or Action Fraud.”
“I’d also urge anyone who receives payment instructions via email, even if this is a regular communication method with a known individual, please contact them by phone or other means to verify the details."