The National Crime Agency (NCA) which only began working on Monday has successfully secured its first conviction following an investigation by its National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU).
The NCA, which itself is a replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), has seen Olukunle Babatunde, 27, of Croydon, South East London, sent down for five years and six months.
At Inner London Crown Court Babatunde pled guilty to numerous offences including “conspiracy to defraud banks, financial institutions and their customers.”
A 25-year-old, Tamar Abdulhamid, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to remove and conceal criminal property.
He was arrested as part of an ongoing operation which was investigating the distribution of stolen financial data obtained by means of “organised international crime”. Babatunde sent out rogue phishing emails in the hope that customers would give up their banking details – which could then have been either used directly or sold on via the black market.
The NCA has said that if Babatunde had been successful in his phishing operation he could have stolen over £750,000 from over 700 online banking customers.
Andy Archibald, Head of the NCCU said:
“This is an excellent result built on the joint working of precursor agencies and has involved the examination of a large number of data, resulting in 765 victim accounts being identified.
“The National Crime Agency will continue to share information and intelligence with regards to serious and organised cyber crime, ensuring those who pose a threat to the public are identified and held accountable for their actions.”
This first conviction for the NCA follows the arrest of four men believed to have been involved in the running of the Silk Road forum which was taken down earlier this month by the FBI.
Those arrests prompted the NCA’s Director General, Keith Bristow, to say:
“These arrests send a clear message to criminals, the hidden internet isn’t hidden and your anonymous activity isn’t anonymous. We know where you are, what you are doing and we will catch you.
It is impossible for criminals to completely erase their digital footprint. No matter how technology-savvy the offender, they will always make mistakes and this brings law enforcement closer to them.”
If the work of the NCA appeals to you then they are currently recruiting, albeit for unpaid “NCA Specials.” Accountants, computer experts and lawyers who are capable of passing a stringent vetting process are free to apply for a role which would surely do much more for a CV than one’s bank balance.
If joining the NCA sounds appealing then you will, according to Bristow, be joining an “open, transparent and accountable organisation” though, interestingly, The Independent reports that the agency will “not comply with freedom-of-information requests, unlike police forces.”