Fraudsters jailed for £37 million web scam

Hampshire Poice

A group of scammers that limits consumers in the uk of £37 million from the sale of passports and driving licences through the imitation of the web sites that have been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

The six people, directed by Peter Hall, including his wife Claire, web sites operated by impersonated an official of the government of the services.

They then sold the key documents to people for inflated prices.

The illegal profits were used to finance a vacation of luxury and vehicles.

Mike Andrews, lead coordinator of eCrime team, National Trading Standards, which investigated the fraud, said: “This was a crime motivated by greed. This group scammed people so that they could enjoy a lifestyle of luxury.

“They showed no respect for the unnecessary costs imposed on their victims – I would say that they are treated with contempt.”

National Commerce said that the defendants set up copies of web sites between January 2011 and November 2014, which mimicked the services of the government such as applying for or renewing passports, visas, birth or death certificates, driving licences and tests, car tax discs and the London Congestion Charge.

The group also set up the sites that copied the American, Turkish, Cambodia, vietnam and Sri Lanka visa official site where people could request and pay for electronic visas to visit those countries.

National of Commerce, said that in all cases, the sites offer little or no additional value to consumers the use of them, adding that he believed Indians, turks and US citizens have also been defrauded.

It was said that the “illegal profits for funding of a glamorous style of life of the accused”. In a moment, Claire Hall was preparing to buy a house for £1.4 m when the authorities intervened.

Mr. and Mrs. Hall were arrested on June 27, 2014.

The National Trading Standards eCrime team and police raided properties across Hampshire.

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Mr. Hall, age 47, was sentenced to a total of 15 years following two trials that took place in July 2017 and March of this year.

In the first judgment, His Honour Judge Sean Morris said: “Mr. Hall was highly manipulative and controlling individual and it was a particular sophisticated long-running fraud. He was a charming man, but not the charm to the jury.

“We live in the computer age, and the crime is the development of reaching this age. The people live off of their computers and the need to know the services that you purchase online are genuine services.”
Peter Hall, 47, was sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison. Disqualified as a company director for 10 years
Claire Hall, 41, was sentenced to four years in prison
Syed Bilal Zaidi was sentenced to six years imprisonment in his absence. Whereabouts unknown
Collette Ferrow, 50, sentenced to four years in prison
Liam Hincks, pleaded guilty in July 2017-trial, sentenced to three years. He pleaded guilty in March 2018 trial and will be sentenced at a later date
Kerry Mills, 49, sentenced to five years. Disqualified as a company director for eight years

Mr Andrews said: “I would urge people to always use the GOV.The uk website when looking to apply for any type of service in the government, such as passport, driving license or a european HEALTH insurance card.

“The search engines may seem the easy way out, but searching with the GOV.Uk web site is the safest way to ensure that you do not fall victim to a copycat website.”

Lord Toby Harris, chairman of the National of Commerce, said: “I would urge members of the public to report any imitation web sites that place to the Citizens Advice consumer service by calling 03454 04 05 06.”