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Accused in £1m Harrods fake jobs ‘scam’ had ‘no knowledge of fraud’

Fri, 4 Oct 2013
Old Bailey

Court number seven at the Old Bailey yesterday heard evidence relating to an alleged £1m false jobs ‘scam’ involving fictitious jobs at Harrods.

The court heard details of how examination of the hard drives of computers seized by the police during their investigations revealed emails addresses used by several false banking sites, bank sort codes and account numbers, as well as text related to malicious software.

The prosecution alleges that jobseekers applying for fictitious jobs at Harrods lost up to £4.7k each after they downloaded software that asked them to provide their bank account details. The gang is alleged to have hired ‘mules’ to withdraw money from these accounts. The fictitious job were posted on classified ads listing site Gumtree.

The court was read a written statement by Tyrone Ellis, one of six defendants, in which he said that he believed that software he provided to another defendant Olalekan Awosile, and allegedly used in the fraud, was only for Awosile’s personal use. “He maintained that ‘he had no knowledge’ of the Gumtree fraud or false advertisements for jobs,” said Walton Hornsby, prosecuting.

The gang was alleged to have hired ‘mules’ to withdraw money from the job applicants’ accounts, with the result that applicants lost up to £4.7k each.

Harrods

The alleged scam was said to have begun in August 2010, before being discovered by Harrods.

Tyrone Ellis and Olalekan Awosile are two of six defendants, all from South London. All defendants deny conspiracy to defraud and the case, which is expected to last until the end of October, continues. 

The court case highlighted the efforts made by the recruitment industry in recent years to combat cyber crime.

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