The men, Mohammad Butt, 42, of London, Abrar Arshad, 35, of Rochford Essex, Nikhil Jamsandekar, 33, of London, Abiola Salami, 30 and Ade James, 25 both of Birmingham used stolen identities to purchase O2 SIMs and smartphones.
The SIMs were then used to make multiple calls to premium phone lines which the gang purchased. O2 was forced to pay bills to the premium line companies for their services.
The gang was found to have worked with rogue drivers employed by DHL, with whom O2 has an agreement to deliver its handsets. The drivers would divert their routes to deliver the phones to members of the gang.
In sentencing Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC said: “This is no victimless crime as inevitable such huge losses are passed on in part to honest, bill-paying customers.
“In this case I accept there must have been a significant number of conspirators, especially abroad. I accept that none of you were at the pinnacle of the conspiracy or the creator of it but you all played significant parts which enable the conspiracy to continue and be very, very successful.”
An O2 spokesman said: “This was a sophisticated and organised attempt to defraud mobile phone operators. We are extremely pleased that our own investigation and the information we shared with the City of London Police resulted in these convictions.”
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