The concepts of bonus abuse and use of multiple identities are well-known to online casinos, but 35-year old Andrei Osipau from Plumstead, London went to abnormal lengths to illicitly extract funds from dozens of sites, landing him with a three year custodial sentence.
Osipau made around £80,000 by using fake documents and using other people's identities without their knowledge, taking advantage of bonus systems and using numerous bank accounts – also obtained illegally.
Unfortunately for the bonus-hungry fraudster, his lack of diligence let him down as he tried opening two different accounts with the same bank with different passports bearing the same photo. A beady-eyed bank employee spotted the error and the Gambling Commission were duly informed.
They, in turn passed the details on to the Gaming Unit – a division of the Met – who traced Osipau's details back to an IP address that he had attempted to mask, and his home was raided. Police found over 5,900 scans of passports, bank statements, and energy and phone bills from unsuspecting individuals based all over the world. Osipau consequently had no other option but to plead guilty to five counts of fraud in addition to other counts including transferring criminal property and possession of articles for use in fraud.
The Gaming Unit's head, DI Ann-Marie Waller cited Osipau's conviction as a clear demonstration of how effectively the Met are dealing with organised high-tech crime, though how many other smaller cases remain undetected is not known.