Sri Lankan born Brit jailed over multi-million dollar email scam

A Sri Lankan born British citizen has been jailed over a multi-million dollar email scam.

The man from Porthmadog has been jailed at Caernarfon Crown Court for his part in the multi-million dollar email scam, ITV reported.

Michael Kinane, 41, was involved in conning an American company out of almost $8 million in 2018.

He was arrested at Gatwick Airport in August last year following a joint investigation carried out by North Wales Police and the FBI.

Kinane was sentenced to seven years and eight months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to launder money and other fraud offences.

Born in Sri Lanka but with British citizenship, Kinane hacked the email of a London-based company from his home in Porthmadog.

Fake emails would then be sent to people within the American company who fell victim to the scam.

The emails would ask for payments, for legitimate work, to be paid into new accounts. One of these accounts belonged to Kinane.

$7.8 million was paid into the accounts in early November 2018. Over the next few days that money was distributed to accounts in Poland, Germany, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia.

After a joint investigation between the FBI and North Wales Police, Kinane was arrested on August 8 2019 after flying back to the UK via Turkey.

He was charged with Conspiracy to Launder Money and three offences of Fraud by False Representation.

North Wales Police obtained banking documentation for 32 bank accounts belonging to Mr Kinane. After a 13 month investigation, more than $1.5 million has been returned to the victim company.

That leaves around $6.2 million outstanding.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Kearney, senior investigating officer said: “Fraud is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK. In the last crime recording year, there were over 4600 frauds in north Wales reported to Action Fraud representing an £8.9m loss.

“Businesses and high-net-worth individuals are now being increasingly targeted due to their larger financial transactions and the greater potential profits for fraudsters.

“This case has been solved because of the support we have received from the companies concerned, the work of the FBI in their parallel investigation and the excellent support we have received from the Specialist Fraud Division of the Crown Prosecution Service in Merseyside.”

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