September 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
A youth worker helped fraudsters take thousands of pounds from bank customers by stealing post from their letter boxes.
Jermaine Raphael, 29, of Winston Close, Romford, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday.
He drove around the east London area swiping confidential bank letters from mailboxes, and was snared after a resident in Heaton Road, Romford, filmed him going through his letterbox in June 2011.
Raphael, a volunteer with youth organisation New Generation Development Agency, had his home searched by police in February 2012.
Officers seized three laptops, a Blackberry phone, bundles of financial documents, bank cards and stolen identity cards and after a lengthy investigation into the extent of the fraud, he was arrested in October 2013.
Paul Casey, prosecuting, said the stolen mail was being passed onto fraudsters who used victims’ bank details to obtain goods and services online.
“Over £24,000 was stolen from the various complainants, and a further £15,000 was attempted.
“I understand all of the money was returned so the actual losers were the banks.”
Raphael has a previous conviction for conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of an imitation firearm in January 2007 and was sentenced to eight years in jail, but released on licence in November 2009.
Sentencing Raphael, who pleaded guilty to possession of articles for use in fraud, Judge Elroy Claxton said: “The items you had on you were clearly intended to commit fraud in a sophisticated way.
“The anxiety caused to people whose money is stolen and financial details used affects their credit rating, it affects the way they conduct their daily lives.”
He also pointed out the Raphael had not cooperated with the police by identifying other people involved in the fraud, and took into account his guilty plea.
Ronald Boswick, for Raphael, said he had been going through some hard times financially.