National Fraud Intelligence Bureau makes first arrests

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said it’s made its first arrest since it was set up by the government.

The bureau, which is a new section within the City of London Police, worked with the police to break up an international ticketing fraud exploiting major sporting and musical events. It has arrested three men and one woman, aged 28, 42, 48 and 60, at addresses across London and Waltham Abbey on suspicion of fraud by false representation.

These people are thought to have been working for sites worldwidetickets.com, and later gigsport selling fake concert tickets to gigs including the Black Eyed Peas and Michael Buble.

To track down the criminals,  the NFIB gathered details of 265 apparent victims of the sites, which were passed on by Trading Standards and Action Fraud. It is estimated these sites gained a total of £40,000 on non-existent tickets.

One woman reported how she had flown from South Africa to the UK having paid £1,800 for three Wimbledon Centre Court tickets.

The investigation, codenamed Operation Cyborg, is one of several cases in the month ahead where police will be drawing on NFIB intelligence to lead them to the doorsteps of suspected criminals.

Head of Economic Crime, Det Chief Supt Steve Head, said: “Today we saw how the NFIB is going to change the rules of engagement in favour of all those who are working to fight fraud.  

“Without the Bureau many more people could have fell victim to a criminal gang who we believe to have already conned hundreds of people into paying large sums of money for non-existent tickets.

“I now look forward to police forces across the country using NFIB intelligence to track down the fraudsters who are destroying lives, damaging businesses and costing the UK economy billions of pounds.”

Bernard Herdan, CEO of the National Fraud Authority, said: “A case like this shows the importance of the public reporting fraud and how this contributes to an effective enforcement response. We urge anyone who has lost money to any type of fraud to contact Action Fraud so the police can bring more criminals to justice.”

More public and private sector bodies are now being asked to sign-up to the project, share their fraud data and help the NFIB to cut crime.