Nick Cotter and Graham Gilbert successfully prosecute organised crime gang in major phone fraud case

20th March 2024


3PB's crime and regulatory barristers Nick CotterNicholas CotterCall: 1999 and Graham GilbertGraham GilbertCall: 2015 acted for the Crown in prosecuting an organised crime gang who defrauded major phone companies out of over £400,000 - seeing four of the five fraudsters jailed for a combined total of 11 years with the fifth, who admitted his part in the fraud conspiracy, due to appear for sentencing at a later date.

The fraudsters all pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to defrauding Vodafone, EE, O2 and the Carphone Warehouse, following "Operation Waterspout" by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary. This investigation found evidence of high value commercial fraud, with the fraudsters using stolen personal details of existing customers to take out new phone contracts and obtain expensive mobile phones and similar items such as Apple Watches and iPads.

The fraud came to light after a Hampshire resident reported that, over five days, four mobile phone accounts had been opened up in his name without his permission or knowledge. As part of the investigation, many forged documents were seized, such as fake passports, bankcards, bank statements, utility bills and stolen driving licences. 176 phone company customers had their details used for 602 fraud transactions, but did not experience any financial loss.

The case was widely reported including by Hampshire Police and Portsmouth News.

To contact either Nick or Graham, please email their clerk Stuart Pringle, or telephone 01962 868 884.