A POSTMAN who took part in a £1.3million global money-laundering operation, and was caught after overseas students fell victim to the fraud, has been jailed.
Alex Stocks, 30, from East Lancashire, set up bank accounts which were used as fronts for an internet scam which conned more than 200 victims around the world.
Students at Exeter University paid out thousands of pounds in deposits for non-existent luxury flats as Stocks, and partner-in-crime Shaker Javaid became involved in the swindle, the city's crown court heard.
Stocks, of Windsor Avenue, Longridge, was jailed for 30 months, after being convicted of money-laundering. Javaid, of Albert Terrace, Preston, was jailed for seven years after being found guilty of conspiracy to money launder, a charge over which Stocks was cleared.
One German woman was blackmailed into transferring her £25,000 life savings after hackers convinced her they would kill her family if she refused, the court was told.
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Stocks and Javaid claimed they were victims of the same international conspiracy and thought they were handling genuine payments for online car accessory sales.
Accounts in the name of Flashclaims and Global Supplies were controlled by the two men and used for the transfer of sums totalling £1.3million from around the world, the court was told.
The fraudsters tried to hide their identities by using money transfer services including Moneygram and Western Union.
Tom Mitchell, for Stocks, said his client was paid no more than £1,000 for his involvement in money laundering.
“His personal benefit ran into hundreds of pounds, rather than hundreds of thousands of pounds," he added.
Kathryn Johnson, for Javaid, also said her client was 'rather close to the bottom than the top' of any money-laundering.
Jailing the pair, Judge Erik Salomonsen said: “I accept that you were not alone – clearly there were others – and I sentence you on the basis of a wider conspiracy.”
Both defendants will be the subject of proceeds of crime hearings.