Four criminals sentenced for involvement in £1.2m scam


Four criminals who were involved in committing £1.2 million of fraud have been sentenced today to a combined total of 7 years and 2 months at Inner London Crown Court.

The sentencing followed a successful investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist City of London and Metropolitan police unit funded by the banking and cards industry.

The fraud involved the following individuals: Luke Williams, 32, of Haywards Heath, Ricky Burgess, 30, of Leigh-on-Sea, Francis Buckman, 34, of Southend-on-Sea, and Michael Sonowo, 36, of Havering.

Mr Williams, a former bank employee, abused his position within the bank to access customers’ security details which he then passed onto the other members of the gang. The group then purported to be the genuine bank customers trying to access their accounts. The funds were then transferred to third party accounts and then were quickly withdrawn. The total amount of the fraud attempted was over £2.4 million, of which £1.2 million was prevented.

The fraud was spotted by the bank and the case was referred to the DCPCU to investigate. All victims of the fraud were fully refunded.

  • Mr Williams received a prison sentence of 4 years for committing fraud by abuse of position.
  • Mr Burgess received a prison sentence of 2 years for conspiracy to defraud.
  • Mr Buckman received 14 months imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud.
  • Mr Sonowo received a conditional discharge, a community order for 12 months, and 100 hours of unpaid work for committing money laundering offences.

Detective Constable Jeremy Boxall, who investigated the case for the DCPCU, commented:

“This was a highly sophisticated scam with these criminals using stolen customer account details to commit over £1.2 million of fraud.

“This case shows that anyone who is caught abusing the trust placed in them by their employer will be punished along with those who try to help them.”