Ever thought of using fake I.D cards, international passports and utility bills to open multiple online casino accounts in order to take advantage of bonuses? Well, a man in the UK did, and he is now facing three years in jail!
The UK Gambling Commission, Metropolitan Police Gambling Unit and Project Amberhill caught 35-year old Andrei Osipau, after an extensive investigation of the man’s ongoing activity.
There has never been a prosecution considered ‘Bonus Abuse’, which is what Andrei was charged with, however with a three-year sentence, it is definitely considered a serious offense. Bonus Abuse was defined as, simply, stealing identities to open various online casino accounts to utilize the bonuses offered.
To take the criminal activity even farther, he created online payment accounts in false names so he could transfer the fraudulent funds from the casino to a bank account, at the ring of roughly £80,000.
To quote Detective Inspector Ann-Marie Waller, head of the Met’s Gaming Unit “This joint investigation with the Gambling Commission demonstrates the Met’s commitment to combating high tech organised crime. The sentence imposed by the judge today should deter anyone considering committing crime involving stolen or compromised identities.” Yes, indeed, I think most of us will think twice before attempting this sneaky move!
Just when the “brilliant” fraud artist thought he would pull of his “best idea yet”, he made one step he would forever regret. Osipau sent two UK passports with different names but identical pictures within 12 minutes of each other, and the betting company, who are trained to look out for these types of people, spotted it right away. On the 26th of February, 2011, the online casino reported this to the Gambling Commission, where the Gaming Unit then went on to investigate. Although Osipau masked his IP address to keep the casino from catching him, the investigation was able to figure out his trick, which displayed he sent in the passports from Hove and Eastbourne.
When the man’s home was investigated, there were 5,900 scans of I.D cards, utility bills, passports and bank statements of people throughout Europe, U.S, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Osipau pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud, one count of transferring criminal property and eight counts of possession of articles for use of fraud, landing him three years in Southwark Crown Court. But hey, at least he didn’t try to plead innocent!
“I expect and intend that you will be deported at the end of your sentence,” Judge Loraine-Smith told Osipau after his sentencing. There is no information regarding his country of origin, however it seems he will be returning there sooner than he thought!
We always thought that there are plenty of bonuses out there and that casinos give generous offers when you are loyal to them. For example, ComeOn! casino gives free spins, reload bonuses, lottery raffles and have fun raffles for trips and cool gadgets. This guy must have enjoyed logistics more than the games themselves.