A London man has received a four-year jail sentence for his part in a global Olympics ticket fraud.
44-year old Christakis Ioannou pleaded guilty to participating in a fraudulent business and concealing criminal property at a hearing last month, having been arrested by the Metropolitan Police's team investigating ticket fraud and touting connected to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. He was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court. According to the Police, the fraud netted at least £400,000,but the judge said he suspected that the true figure was "a lot more". The judge told Ioannou "This was a mean and unpleasant fraud, you let people believe that you had access to Olympic tickets."
The court was told that the former London cabbie, from Catford, set up two fake websites – www.2012-londonsummergames.com and www.2012-londonsummergames.org – almost a year before the Olympics opening ceremony. They were designed to look authentic and offered unlimited numbers of tickets for all events. A total of 485 people from around the world tried to buy tickets from the two sites, which in one five week period took more than 450,000 euros (£363,227) in sales for non existent tickets.
Evidence was collected from victims in more than 20 countries including the USA, Italy, Netherlands and Denmark – including the parents of participants from France and Greece.
When he was arrested at Gatwick Airport in January, the fraudster had 17,500 euros (£14,115) in cash hidden in the socks he was wearing.
Police hope to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover some of the profits from the scam.