Fraudster Jailed for £236,000 Identity Scam against Bet365

May 11, 2023
Andrew Burnett

An Essex man was jailed for five years last month after being found guilty of fraud against online gambling company Bet365. He was part of a syndicate that created more than 1000 online accounts used to hoodwink the company and rack up £236,000 in bonuses.

40-year-old Jon Howard, of Stapleford Tawney, just outside of London, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation at Basildon Crown Court.

The four-week trial heard how Howard impersonated others involved in the scam to access Bet365 services.

This allowed him to build up bonuses he would otherwise not be eligible for, with the criminal enterprise dating back as far as 2008 and involving over 1000 betting accounts.

Det. Sgt. Mike Monckton, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, explained why they went after Howard and his accomplices.

“Betting online in someone else’s name is against the terms of use. When we were notified in 2018, we embarked upon a lengthy and complex investigation that took some time to unravel.”

Monckton revealed the extent of the criminal operation: “When we executed a warrant at Jon Howard’s address in Stapleford Tawney in February 2019, it was obvious that this was set up to look like any other legal business.
“Hours were spent trawling through paperwork in different names, receipts for luxury items, bank books and 177 sim cards that were seized from the address.”

The detective added: “The whole enterprise was dishonest and designed to deceive the gambling company. Substantial sums of money were involved.”

Howard is believed to have made an estimated £236,000 ($298,000) from the fraud. He was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud against Santander, but was cleared of money laundering charges.

Hi co-accused, 41-year-old Anna Nikolopoulos, also of Stapleford Tawney, was found not guilty of the same charges, while another co-defendant, 45-year-old Daniel Gorman, of Epping, was also cleared of money laundering, but pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud against Santander.

Howard was sentenced to five years in jail while Gorman was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and must complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

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