Officers from South Yorkshire Police have successfully intercepted £70,000 of ill-gotten cash held in a fraudulent gambling account.
Police received information in October 2021 from the National Crime Agency, after irregular patterns were detected in an online gambling account. As a result of enquiries by officers from the Financial Crime Investigation Unit (FCIU), it was discovered that a member of the public had been tricked into providing their personal details to a money laundering ring via a social media scam.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to this person, and without their consent, their personal details were then used to open fraudulent online banking and gambling accounts, for the sole purpose of laundering criminal funds.
Enquiries were made with the bank but the individual who set up the account could not be identified from the information available.
Following further investigations by the police’s Financial Crime Investigation Unit, an Account Forfeiture Order was successfully obtained on a linked gambling account which had a balance of just over £70,000.
These funds were subsequently seized and will now be paid to the Home Office, which will return half of the money to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) here in South Yorkshire for use in various local community projects.
Temporary Detective Sergeant Paul Douglas, from the FCIU, said: “Over the last six months, our FCIU officers have deprived criminal money laundering gangs of over half a million pounds held in fraudulent accounts. Half of this money will now be used by the PCC to support a range of good causes in our communities across South Yorkshire.
“While incidents like this are very shocking and traumatic for those that sadly get wrapped up in fraudulent activity, we are pleased that in this case, we have been able to intervene and put a stop to this particular activity at an early stage, before it escalated further and caused additional stress for the victim.
“I would like to remind the public that they should never provide anyone they do not know personally with copies of their personal documentation such as passports or driving licences - under any circumstances. Unfortunately, there are people out there living within our communities who are not genuine, and therefore we ask people to be extra vigilant and cautious when asked for their personal details, especially via social media.”
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, added: “The stress caused by such deception can be overwhelming for individuals who fall victim to these scams and I thank the police’s Financial Crime Investigation Unit for their hard work in achieving this result.
“I am pleased that many local community projects across South Yorkshire will benefit from the conclusion of this incident.”
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, you should contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. Or if you suspect someone you know may be in money laundering, you can report this anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.
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