Halifax fireplace fraudster jailed for £120,000 scam targeting family businesses

Dean Jones, 28, of Montrose Street, Rochdale and Alan OHara, 40, of Barkisland, Halifax, have been jailed
Dean Jones, 28, of Montrose Street, Rochdale and Alan OHara, 40, of Barkisland, Halifax, have been jailed

Two fraudsters who scammed family-run businesses by buying fireplaces and other high-value goods using stolen card details have been jailed at Manchester Crown Court.

This follows another successful investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit funded by the banking and cards industry.

Dean Jones, 28, of Montrose Street, Rochdale and Alan O’Hara, 40 of Barkisland, Halifax, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud.

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Jones was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, and O’Hara was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison.

The fraudsters would order high-value goods from companies using bank card details stolen from customers around the world, including Australia and China.

The pair committed £73,000 of fraud between March 8 and July 20 2017, and attempted another £48,000 of fraudulent transactions that were successfully prevented – reaching a combined total of £121,000.

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The businesses targeted include several independent family-run companies selling stoves and fireplaces across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Yorkshire.

As part of the scam, the fraudsters also bought a digger from a company in Dorset and a wood chipper from a firm in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

The fraud was detected by Barclaycard and then referred to the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU).

The two fraudsters would order goods over the phone and arrange for them to be collected or delivered by the companies to addresses across the UK, before the transactions could be spotted by the cardholders’ bank as fraudulent.

The fraudsters are then believed to have immediately sold on the fraudulently obtained goods, preventing them from being recovered.

In addition to making these fraudulent purchases, both O’Hara and Jones were found to have called Barclaycard on several occasions and impersonated customers in order to obtain personal information for the purposes of committing fraud.

Devices seized off Jones also found he had accessed so-called “carding websites” which are used to purchase stolen card details.

Detective Constable Matthew Cornell, who investigated the case for the DCPCU, said: “These two fraudsters callously targeted family-run firms, cheating them out of goods worth thousands of pounds. This was an international racket in which card details were stolen from customers around the world and then used to commit fraud in the UK.

“Thanks to close cooperation with Barclaycard we were able to track these fraudsters down and bring them to justice.

“This shows the banking industry and the police take card fraud extremely seriously and those responsible will be caught and punished.”

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