The mastermind of an online fraud shop used to con victims out of more than £100 million blew his ill-gotten gains on luxury cars including a £230,000 Lamborghini, a court has heard.
Tejay Fletcher, 35, was revealed as the founder and leading administrator of the iSpoof.cc website when it was smashed last year in the UK’s biggest fraud sting.
The site offered scammers the tools to disguise phone calls to appear to be from a trusted organisation such as a bank, so they could empty their targets’ accounts.
Southwark Crown Court heard victims across the world were defrauded of at least £100 million, including a minimum of £43 million from people in the UK.
Users of the website paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a month for its features, which were marketed on a channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram called “iSpoof club”.
The court heard he rented an east London apartment, which boasts views of the Royal Victoria Dock and the City skyline, and owned a £230,000 Lamborghini.
Fletcher also spent £120,000 on two Range Rovers for him and his girlfriend, while police found a money counter, jewellery and an £11,000 Rolex in his home.
Mr Ojakovoh said another Audemars Piguet watch appeared to be a fake, joking: “You can’t trust anyone these days.”
Fletcher last month pleaded guilty to four charges, including making or supplying an article for use in fraud, encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, possession of criminal property and transferring criminal property, between November 30 2020 and November 8 2022.
“This is a case which concerns the facilitation of fraud on an industrial scale by iSpoof the website and its founder and leading administrator,” the prosecutor told Fletcher’s sentencing hearing on Thursday.
Fletcher was arrested at his girlfriend’s house in east London in a global operation to bring down iSpoof, as part of the UK’s biggest fraud sting.
The Metropolitan Police said iSpoof was created in December 2020 and at its peak had 59,000 users, with up to 20 people per minute targeted at one point by callers using technology bought from the site.
Its centrepiece allowed fraudsters to make phone calls which appeared to be from a trusted organisation such as a bank and pose as fraud department employees to lower the guard of unsuspecting recipients.
The spoof calls, along with other features offered through the site to obtain passwords and PIN codes, were all used to empty the victims’ bank accounts.
Mr Ojakovoh said a “particularly dastardly exploitation of people’s busy lives” was a tool allowing users to trick victims into entering new card details by claiming the information held by a trusted organisation was out of date.
One victim lost £3 million, while the 4,785 people who reported being targeted to Action Fraud lost an average of £10,000, according to police.
The court heard Fletcher carried out “market research”, promoted new products and encouraged users to commit fraud.
On January 3 2022 he wished “Happy New Year” to users on his Telegram channel adding: “All back to work, back to getting that bag. Make this year special, stack those Satoshis (a reference to the supposed inventor of Bitcoin).”
Of 10 million fraudulent calls made, 40% were in the US, 35% were in the UK and the rest were spread across other countries.
Simon Baker KC, defending, his client did not see the “misery” being caused by the frauds at the time and was only “forced to confront the real consequences” when he saw the victims’ impact statements.
“His guilty plea reflects his genuine regret and remorse for his actions and his sincere wish to apologise to those who have suffered as a result of the frauds perpetrated against them as a result of the iSpoof website,” he said.
Mr Baker described Fletcher, who has a young son, as an “extremely bright young man”, adding: “It is extremely unfortunate that intellect was not channeled into gainful activities.”
He worked with a youth charity and developed an anti-bullying campaign in the years before his arrest, and received an offer of a place at drama school, the barrister added.
Judge Sally Cahill KC said she would sentence Fletcher on Friday.