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Ex professional rugby player among gang who ran £2m fraud

A former professional rugby player involved in a £2 million mobile phone fraud targeting hundreds of UK students has been jailed for five years.

Second-row forward Alexander Karonias, 32, embarked upon the con with Jonathan Boorman, 32, described as the ‘big boss’ behind the scam, which allowed him to drive a Lamborghini and pay £12,000 a month for a rented home in Notting Hill, west London.

Karonias played for London Scottish between 2008 and 2014 until being forced to retire by back injury problems.

The fraudsters netted at least £2 million after some of them met through playing rugby at Birmingham University.

‘Big boss’ Jonathan Boorman’s fraudulent earnings allowed him to pay 12,000 a month to rent a property in Notting Hill, west London

Boorman and his father Michael Boorman, 65, along with Robert Morrison and Charles Shelton, both 31, and Thomas Maynard, 26, all admitted their guilt. 

The fraudsters got students to hand over their personal information which was used to obtain mobile phone contracts or unclaimed upgrades.

Alexander Karonias, who used to play for London Scottish, has been jailed for five years after the £2 million phone fraud 

Alexander Karonias, who used to play for London Scottish, has been jailed for five years after the £2 million phone fraud 

Working under the guise of companies JBi Systems Ltd, JBi Capital Ltd (JBi) and Netlink Services UK Ltd, they then gave the SIM cards to spam marketers, who used them to send thousands of texts.

Contracts would also be obtained by sham businesses set up in students’ names to get more handsets on a single contract.

The fraudsters purported to send off for new phones before claiming they wanted it in a different colour or with a different storage size.

The gang's Laura Kane was jailed for five years and six months and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years

The gang’s Laura Kane was jailed for five years and six months and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years

Instead of sending back the new iPhone, or equivalent, they would send back an old, cheap handset.

Once they received the replacement handset, they would purport to cancel the contract and send a further dummy phone back to the companies.

It left the fraudsters with two new mobile phones.

Prosecutor David Durose said the crooks exploited weaknesses in the system ‘without sending the real things back’.

A document titled ‘JBi Directory’ was found by officers when they raided the company’s offices back in August 2014, mapping out each of the gang’s roles.

Jonathan Boorman was described as the ‘prime mover’ behind the scheme.

Charles Shelton was jailed for three years and three months after admitting his role in the scam.

Charles Shelton, left, was jailed for three years and three months after admitting his role in the scam. Thomas Maynard, right, received a suspended sentence but was disqualified from being a company director for six years 

Judge Nicholas Gledhill QC jailed him for six years and four months and disqualified him from being a company director for 12 years.

Karonias was jailed for five years and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.

Kane was jailed for five years and six months and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.

Maynard was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from being a company director for six years.

Rawson was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, ordered carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from being a company director for five years.

Shelton was handed a three-year and three-month prison sentence and disqualified from being a company director for six years.

Morrison was jailed for two years and three months and disqualified from being a company director for five years.

Rawson received a suspended sentence but was banned from directing companies for six years

Kane was jailed for more than five years and banned from being a company director for a decade

Rawson, left, received a suspended sentence but was banned from directing companies for six years while Kane, right, was jailed for more than five years and banned from being a company director for a decade

Michael Boorman will be sentenced at a later date with a further court hearing will determining what his specific involvement was in the con.

Laura Kane, 27, and Reiss Rawson, 31, denied any involvement in the fraud but were convicted by jury earlier this month.

Mr Durose said they ‘undertook roles in respect of payments and administration as well as having something of a PA role to Mr Boorman.’

Michael and Jonathan Boorman, of Devonshire Buildings, Bath, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and one of transferring, concealing, and converting criminal property.

Karonias, of Marchmont Road, Richmond, south west London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and one of transferring, concealing and converting criminal property.

Rawson, of Ranelagh Mansions, New Kings Road, Fulham and Kane, of Elm Road, Kidderminster, denied and were convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and one of transferring, concealing and converting criminal property.

Robert Morrison admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud after hundreds of UK students had their details stolen 

Robert Morrison admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud after hundreds of UK students had their details stolen 

Maynard, of Pagoda Gardens, Blackheath, south east London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Morrison, of Hardwicks Square, Wandsworth, south west London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Shelton, of Ridgeway, Wimbledon, south west London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Stephen Rowland, from the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, said: ‘These defendants set out to systematically defraud significant sums of money from mobile phone companies, encouraging students to take out contracts as part of the scheme.

‘As well as the six-figure sums lost by the companies, their actions caused significant financial hardship to dozens of young people, many of whom were left with severely damaged credit ratings.

‘The CPS worked closely with the police from an early stage in order to build a strong case, with the result that six defendants pleaded guilty in the face of the evidence against them and two further defendants were convicted at trial.’

 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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