Fraudster made £1m by setting up 100 fake accounts with banks including Santander and Virgin Money

PUBLISHED: 11:48 17 January 2019

Anastasios Sotiropoulos. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Anastasios Sotiropoulos. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

A fraudster who targeted some of the world’s biggest banks made £1m by setting up more than 100 fake bank accounts, a court heard.

Dionysios Tsekleris. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyDionysios Tsekleris. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Thomas Sotiropoulos, 58, using fake identities to make online applications over a five-year period - with his victims including Santander, Virgin Money and MBNA, Norwich Crown Court was told on Wednesday.

He carried out some of the frauds while living in Waterden, near Walsingham, but had moved to Northumberland by the time police closed in on his complex fraudulent scheme.

Sotiropoulos admitted fraud charges between 2013 and August last year amounting to more than £1m.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said Sotiropoulos used online applications to obtain fraudulent loans and credit using fake identities and documents.

Mr Ivory said that Sotiropoulos often used the name doctor or professor to add extra gravitas to his applications and because lenders never met him, he was able to make multiple applications and use fake addresses including addresses from the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital development.

He also set up bogus companies which he used as part of the scam to obtain cash.

Mr Ivory said when arrested Sotiropoulos had £7,800 in cash and said a bag containing various fake documents was also found. It was also discovered Sotiropoulos had a “fraud kit” including documents and equipment hidden in a storage unit in Gateshead.

Mr Ivory said: “It was a complex fraudulent scheme which has professional hallmarks.”

Judge Katharine Moore jailed Sotiropoulos for four years nine months and described it as a “cynical” course of dishonesty. She said: “You applied to various institutions using assorted names and addresses, You obtained in excess of £1m from various banks and institutions.”

Ayanna Nelson, for Sotiropoulos said that he was a highly educated man and bitterly regretted his actions. She said he had a number of health issues.

His co-defendant Dionysios Tsekleris, 42, admitted laundering some of the cash and was jailed for 15 months.

Rachel Darby, for Tsekleris, said that he was aware of the criminal activity but had no idea of the scale. She said he played a lesser role and planned to return to Greece.

A confiscation hearing will be held at a later date.

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