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Trio accused of defrauding O2 get five years in prison

The three men accused of defrauding mobile operator O2 have received five-year prison terms after being found guilty of creating fake contracts for premium rate calling lines.

Using an array of stolen identities and credit cards, the men were able to keep the operation highly organised and ran a sophisticated detail authorities have said. Fahad Lone, 38, Ashok Kumar, 26 and Mohammed Akmal, 46, set-up hundreds of fake aliases and used them to establish contracts for premium rate calls. Furthermore, the contracts were then sold to service providers, including Pixonyx, which the trio set-up to receive some of the money themselves.

The men also sold handsets during the operation giving them out along with the fake contracts. In total the men made £100,000 in handset sales alone.

The fraud was first uncovered by O2 when it attempted to collect on the contracts and found that many of the names did not exist. The men defrauded an estimated £510,000 out of the heist. M25 officials finally caught the trio when a call was traced to a garage near Birmingham. Evidence was also found on the vehicles the men were using via CCTV cameras.

Kumar fled back to India after posting bail and had to be sentenced in the Southwark Crown Court in his absence. A spokesman for the popular UK mobile operator said that the heist had been meticulous and was extremely sophisticated in nature.

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