Court sentences three men for years of phishing

Three men from Amsterdam and Amstelveen have been convicted by the court for making victims through phishing for years. They were sentenced to prison terms and community service. They also jointly have to pay 183,000 euros in damages.

This was decided by the court of Rotterdam on Tuesday. Because there are three suspects, three sentences have been drawn up.

This is how the suspects proceeded

It concerns a 26-year-old, 30-year-old and 31-year-old man from Amsterdam and Amstelveen. Between 2014 and 2019 they made numerous victims via phishing. This is a scam where cybercriminals try to steal personal information from unsuspecting victims. They misuse this data for financial gain, for example, to plunder someone’s savings account. Others resell the data to other criminals.

In this case, the men sent fake emails and text messages to the victims. They pretended to be a telecom company, bank or credit card company. In the fake messages, they referred victims to a rogue page. On the phishing site, they could enter their bank login details.

The scammers used this information to change customer addresses. They then bought brand new iPhones in the customer’s name. These were delivered to the address of cat-catchers. Finally, money was also transferred to the bank accounts of the cat-catchers.

Court takes offenses ‘serious offenses’

According to the court, it is indisputable that the men were guilty of computer breaches (hacking), fraud, theft and money laundering. One of the suspects developed the phishing sites, through which he played “a crucial role”. “After all, without the phishing websites he created and sold, the phishing process could not have been started. The actions of the suspect resulted in major financial damage for the banks. This act only came to an end with the intervention of the police.”

The court speaks of “serious facts” because of the many victims. Confidence in financial institutions has also suffered a blow. “The victims trusted that they had deposited their money safely with the banks and that their personal information in their customer environment at banks was not accessible to third parties. The confidence that banks are a safe place to keep money has been seriously damaged by the suspect and his co-defendants,” the judge said.

One of the suspects bought a new car with the illegally obtained money. According to the court, this is a serious offence. “Disclosing the criminal origin of the proceeds of crime allows perpetrators of these crimes to stay out of the reach of the investigative authorities and to enjoy the criminally obtained assets undisturbed. The approach to money laundering is therefore of great importance for the effective fight against all kinds of serious crime.”

Suspects sentenced to pay damages

All three suspects have been sentenced by the court of Rotterdam to 270 days in prison, of which 198 days are suspended. Since the men have been in custody for 72 days, they do not have to go back to prison. This is linked to a two-year probationary period. If they commit a criminal offence during this period, they must still serve their prison sentence.

The judge also imposed community service on the suspects. The man who developed the phishing sites was sentenced to 180 hours of community service. With the deduction of the remaining part of the time that he spent in pre-trial detention, this community service obligation lapses. The other two suspects were sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

Finally, the suspects must jointly pay compensation of more than 183,000 euros. That is considerably less than the 445,000 euros that Rabobank, ING and Vodafone had demanded.

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