Former rugby pro jailed for five years for role in mobile phone scam

RICHMOND

A former rugby professional who took part in a £2m mobile phone scam has been jailed for five years.

Second-row forward Alexander Karonias, 32, embarked upon the con with Jonathan Boorman, 32, described as the ‘big boss’ behind the fraud.

Karonias played for London Scottish between 2008 and 2014 until being forced to retire by back injury problems.

The fraud netted at least £2 million and allowed Boorman to drive a Lamborghini and pay £12,000 a month for a rented home in Notting Hill.

Boorman and his father Michael Boorman, 65, along with Robert Morrison and Charles Shelton, both 31, and Thomas Maynard, 26, all admitted their guilt.

Some of the gang members met when they were playing rugby together at Birmingham University.

Southwark Crown Court heard the fraudsters got students to hand over their personal information which were then used to obtain mobile phone contracts or unclaimed upgrades.

Working under the guise of companies JBi Systems Ltd, JBi Capital Ltd (JBi) and Netlink Services UK Ltd, they then gave the SIM cards to spam marketers.

The spam marketers would use them to send thousands of texts.

Contracts would also be obtained by sham business set up in students’ names in order to get more handsets on a single contract.

The fraudsters purported to send off for new phones before claiming they wanted it in a different colour or with a different storage size.

Instead of sending back the new iPhone, or equivalent, they would send back an old, cheap handset.

Once they received the replacement handset, they would purport to cancel the contract and send a further dummy phone back to the companies.

It left the fraudsters with two new mobile phones.

Prosecutor David Durose said the crooks exploited weaknesses in the system ‘without sending the real things back’.

A document titled ‘JBi Directory’ was found by officers when they raided the company’s offices back in August 2014, mapping out each of the gang’s roles.

Jonathan Boorman was described as the ‘prime mover’ behind the scheme.

Judge Nicholas Gledhill QC jailed him for six years and four months and disqualified him from being a company director for 12 years.

Karonias was jailed for five years and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.

Kane was jailed for five years and six months and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.

Maynard was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from being a company director for six years.

Rawson was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, ordered carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from being a company director for five years.

Shelton handed a three year and three-month prison sentence and disqualified from being a company director for six years.

Morrison was jailed for two years and three months and disqualified from being a company director for five years.

Michael Boorman will be sentenced at a later date with a further court hearing will determining what his specific involvement was in the con.

Laura Kane, 27, and Reiss Rawson, 31, denied any involvement in the fraud but were convicted by jury earlier this month.

Mr Durose said they ‘undertook roles in respect of payments and administration as well as having something of a PA role to Mr Boorman.’

Michael and Jonathan Boorman, of Devonshire Buildings, Bath, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and one of transferring, concealing, and converting criminal property.

Karonias, of Marchmont Road, Richmond, southwest London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and one of transferring, concealing and converting criminal property.

Rawson, of Ranelagh Mansions, New Kings Road, Fulham and Kane, of Elm Road, Kidderminster, denied and were convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and one of transferring, concealing and converting criminal property.

Maynard, of Pagoda Gardens, Blackheath, southeast London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Morrison, of Hardwicks Square, Wandsworth, southwest London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Shelton, of Ridgeway, Wimbledon, southwest London, admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Stephen Rowland, from the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, said: ‘These defendants set out to systematically defraud significant sums of money from mobile phone companies, encouraging students to take out contracts as part of the scheme.

‘As well as the six-figure sums lost by the companies, their actions caused significant financial hardship to dozens of young people, many of whom were left with severely damaged credit ratings.

‘The CPS worked closely with the police from an early stage in order to build a strong case, with the result that six defendants pleaded guilty in the face of the evidence against them and two further defendants were convicted at trial.’
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