PRESTON, England – A British man was sentenced to four years in jail Tuesday for masterminding a "phishing" fraud that stole identities and bank details from users of the eBay auction site.
Prosecutors said David Levi (search), 29, of Lytham, England, led a six-man gang that stole nearly 200,000 pounds ($360,000) from more than 160 people. They sent e-mails to eBay customers, pretending to be from eBay, asking for bank details.
Other gang members were sentenced to jail terms ranging from six months to two years.
"This was a coordinated and sophisticated fraud which took place over a 12-month period which required a determined and calculated approach," said Judge Phillip Sycamore, presiding in Preston Crown Court.
"A large number of people lost a significant amount of money, and it is quite apparent that the use of a fraudulent eBay site was quite sophisticated," Sycamore said.
In phishing schemes (search), fraudsters typically bait victims with e-mails purportedly from legitimate online businesses. The e-mails direct recipients to bogus Web sites, where they are asked to re-input information such as credit card numbers and passwords.
Levi, who was already serving a sentence for drug offenses, was sentenced to three years for fraud and one year for perverting the course of justice, to be served consecutively. His brother Guy Levi, 22, was jailed for 21 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud.
Daniel Lett, 22, was sentenced to two years for conspiracy to defraud.
Derek Anderson, 59, Chris Worden, 23, Craig Jameson, 31, and Gareth Rice, 22, were each jailed for six months on money laundering charges.