Three fraudsters who operated an online scam out of Wisbech will pay back only a fraction of the headline £380,000 figure ordered by a court – one for instance will only be told to repay £1. Aleksejs Fedins, 38, was the ring leader and a trusted figure in Wisbech within the Latvian community.
Once, in 2017, and through his joint partnership in an local events company, he helped to stage a social and dance to bring the community together. But he showed a different side to his nature when police raided his Wisbech home, only to discover he was burning evidence.
Fedins scammed the money from an online payment platform over three years. He used a forged passport to obtain a UK provisional driving licence and set up bank accounts to move fraudulent cash.
He had created fake transactions on the payment platform between supposed sellers and buyers, before claiming the items paid for did not arrive and pocketing the cash.
Between 2017 and 2020, he ran hundreds of different accounts. When police searched his home in Lime Avenue, Wisbech, they found hundreds of phones, SIM cards and bank cards.
At Peterborough Crown Court on October 22, 2021, he was jailed for three years and nine months. He admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, possessing articles for use in frauds and being concerned in money laundering.
Vadims Kuzmins, 36, and Aleksandrs Lisens, 36, who ran the group with Fedins, opened false bank accounts and took control of the accounts of vulnerable people in Latvia. The group organised thousands of fake online sales before requesting refunds through a web-based payment platform which were then paid into the fraudulent bank accounts.
Kuzmins and Lisens were sentenced in January this year. On Monday (18 September), at Peterborough Crown Court, at a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, the group were ordered to repay a total of £377,700.02 to the online payment platform.
But very little of this will find it way back to the victim.
Fedins, of Lime Avenue, Wisbech, was ordered to pay an initial £16,096.72, comprising £900 cash on arrest, a further £196.72 and a £15,000 share of a property. If not paid within three months, he will receive a seven-month prison sentence.
Kuzmins, of Rowan Close, Wisbech, was ordered to pay an initial £1,607.77, comprising money from his account as well as a vehicle. If not paid within three months, he will receive a two-month prison sentence.
Lisens, of Sir Lewis Street, King’s Lynn, was ordered to pay a nominal amount of £1 due to a lack of assets. Should this not be paid, he will receive a one-month prison sentence. “They will have asset markers placed on them for any possible future recovery of funds,” said a police spokesperson.
DC Andy Macdonald said: “Tackling fraud is a force priority and we will do everything we can, not just to prosecute fraudsters, but to get back the criminally obtained money. “I am delighted the court has taken this step to get these three criminals to re-pay all the money they fraudulently obtained.
“We will always look to disrupt criminal gangs who cause misery to so many people.”
In October 2021, Fedins was jailed for three years and nine months at Peterborough Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, possess articles for use in frauds and being concerned in money laundering.
In January, at Peterborough Crown Court, both Lisens and Kuzmins were sentenced: Lisens received a 12-month community order, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and possession of articles for use in frauds, which will lie on file.
Kuzmins received 34 weeks in prison, suspended for 15 months, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and found guilty of possession of articles for use in frauds, for which he received no separate penalty.
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