Tejay Fletcher, the founder of iSpoof, an online “fraud shop” that swindled thousands of people out of millions of pounds, has pleaded guilty to four offences at Southwark Crown Court. The convictions were secured as part of the UK’s biggest fraud sting, with Fletcher previously pleading not guilty but re-arraigned for the offences.
iSpoof was a phone number spoofing website that allowed criminals to mask their phone numbers and trick victims into revealing personal details for financial gain. At its peak, the website had 59,000 users who paid for the criminal software using Bitcoin, with charges ranging from £150 to £5,000 per month. It is estimated that the website made more than £3 million, with total losses to victims of frauds enabled by iSpoof in the UK exceeding £43 million and global losses estimated to be at least £100 million.
Fletcher, who was described as the leading administrator of the website, played a key role in providing fraudsters with the tools to cheat innocent people on a large scale. He lived a “lavish” lifestyle as a result of the fraud site, according to police. Fletcher pleaded guilty to making or supplying articles for use in frauds, encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence believing it would be committed, possessing criminal property, and transferring criminal property. He pleaded not guilty to three other offences which the judge ordered to lie on file.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) intends to use confiscation proceedings to prevent Fletcher from profiting from his crimes. Thomas Short, specialist prosecutor for the CPS, stated that fraud is an insidious crime that causes not only financial losses but also emotional distress and devastation to victims. He encouraged all those who think they have been victims of fraud to come forward and report it, emphasizing that the CPS works closely with police to bring fraudulent offenders to justice.
Detective Superintendent Helen Rance of the Metropolitan Police praised the cyber crime unit for their work in investigating and securing Fletcher’s conviction. She described Fletcher as the ringleader of a slick fraud website that enabled criminals to scam innocent people of millions of pounds. The Metropolitan Police had devised a bespoke plan to reach out to victims who were targeted via iSpoof and was committed to protecting Londoners from spoofing and cyber fraud.
Fletcher is scheduled to be sentenced on May 18 and 19, and the case has sent a strong message to criminals that they can no longer hide behind online anonymity. The conviction marks a significant milestone in the fight against fraud in the UK and highlights the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies in tackling cyber crime.