A “sophisticated and organised attack” on the UK banking system saw £1.25m stolen from Barclays in one day using a high-tech gadget placed on a computer, prosecutors allege.
Five men are standing trial at Southwark crown court on various charges relating to an alleged scam to steal huge amounts of money from UK banks in 2012 and 2013.
Prosecutor Simon Farrell QC told the jury that the trial centred on the “use of computer technology to steal from banks and the improper use of thousands of credit cards which had been stolen”.
When police searched a property in London’s West End last year, they found an “Aladdin’s cave of bank documents, credit cards and electronic equipment for use in fraud on a massive scale”, Mr Farrell told the jury.
In the case of Barclays, a device known as a keyboard video mouse – which allows a user remotely to control several computers at one time – was fitted to a bank manager’s computer at a branch at Swiss Cottage in north London, the court heard.
Lanre Mullins-Abudu, 25, of Putney, London, is accused of conspiracy to steal credit balances at Barclays and concealing criminal property, along with Barclays employee Duane Jean-Jacques, 25, of northwest London who the Crown claims was the “inside man” at the bank. Both men deny the charges.
Mr Jean-Jacques is said to have met a man posing as an IT technician at the bank branch in April 2013 and then led him into an empty manager’s office, where the mouse device was fitted by the bogus engineer, the court heard. The device was then used to access six bank accounts, and 128 transactions were made to more than 40 beneficial accounts.
The sums of money, totalling less than £10,000 each time, were transferred from bank accounts, including those of the University of Portsmouth and London Metropolitan University. Police have so far recovered only £543,000.
The two men are among five defendants. Along with two other men – Lewis Murphy, 39, of southwest London, and Steven Hannah, 52, of Marylebone – Mr Mullins-Abudu also denies conspiracy to commit fraud using credit cards.
Mr Mullins-Abudu also denies a charge of possession of articles for use in fraud and, along with Akash Vaghela, 27, of Hounslow, Middlesex, he has pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to steal credit balances from Spanish bank Santander.
The jury heard other men had pleaded guilty to their part in the scam.
The trial continues.
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