Arrests after phishing emails net £1 million

December 11th 2013

Four people have been arrested and a large quantity of cash seized and by detectives investigating a suspected £1million theft of £1million from two UK banks.

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A suspected live hand grenade was also removed from an address and made safe by specialist explosive officers, following raids in Enfield and Islington yesterday.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Poice's new Cyber Crime Unit (MPCCU) carried out the intelligence-led operation after being alerted that a number of bank customers had inadvertently downloaded complex malware on to their computers by opening phishing emails claiming to be from their bank. A total of £1million was subsequently siphoned off from their bank accounts and transferred to a series of other accounts, to be laundered and withdrawn as cash. The operation follows an in-depth investigation with the assistance of several banks.

Law enforcement officers executed search warrants at residential addresses in Islington and Enfield, resultng in the recovery of a number of computers, smartphones and other media devices, which will be forensically examined. Also seized were luxury goods including jewellery, a Range Rover car and £80,000 cash, confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Two 31-year-old men, a 27-year-old woman and a 24-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to launder money, and possession of an explosive. The men are currently in custody at a central-London police station. The women have been bailed to return on a date early next year. Officers have served restraint requests to several banks for a number of accounts linked to the investigation to be frozen.

T/DCI Jason Tunn of the MPCCU said: "These arrests by the Met's Cyber Crime Unit follow an investigation into what we suspect is an international and organised crime targeting a number of bank customers in London and across the UK. The victims have been hoodwinked by malware-carrying emails purporting to be from their banks, and subsequently had money taken from their accounts." Headded: "The Met's Cyber Crime Unit is determined to protect people and businesses in London from cyber crime, which can see businesses ruined and people's hard-earned money taken from them in a second. We are working closely the banking industry to achieve that. "We will also seek to restrain and seize criminal profits where possible, in order to remove the financial benefit of online crime from cyber criminals."

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