Hampshire man jailed after defrauding victims out of more than £1m using false bank accounts

A HAMPSHIRE man has been jailed after defrauding victims out of more than £1m using counterfeit identity documents.

By Neil Fatkin
Friday, 27th November 2020, 11:40 am
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 11:50 am

Winchester Crown Court heard how George Eduard Costache, 34, used the documents to open 76 bank accounts in other people’s names.

He then used them to access £1,213,817 of money gained by fraudulent activity.

The money had been received into these accounts from multiple victims for the purchases of caravans, tractors and heavy plant machinery – goods which did not exist. These funds were from individuals overseas, with no UK victims identified during the investigation.

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After a hearing at Winchester Crown Court a man has been sentenced to four years in prison for fraudulent activity. © Solent News & Photo Agency

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Costache, of Sussex Street, Winchester, pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to committing fraud by false representation across Hampshire, Dorset and Surrey – all of which occurred between September 1, 2018 and July 3, 2020.

During a search of Costache’s residence, 23 counterfeit European identification documents and passports were located which had been used as part of the fraudulent activity.

He was found guilty of four counts of fraud, one count of possession of articles for use in fraud and one count of money laundering and was handed a four year custodial sentence for money laundering with four years concurrent for committing fraud and two years concurrent for possession of 23 counterfeit identification documents.

Detective sergeant Marcus Mills, who led the investigation, said: ‘Today, with the support of a wide-range of national and international partners, an offender has been brought to justice and handed a substantial custodial sentence.

‘This was a complex investigation which has yielded a fantastic result. The cost to Costache’s victims have been potentially life-changing, both financially and psychologically, so we are pleased to see that he is no longer a threat to the local communities of Hampshire, Surrey and Dorset.

‘In handing down a lengthy sentence, which reflects the nature and severity of his criminal activity, we hope that this will act as a future deterrent to those individuals looking to exploit both banking institutes and vulnerable people who unfortunately fall victim to fraudulent schemes.’

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