Six charged over £4.5m iPhone fraud

Six people were due to appear in court today accused of links to an international £4.5 million iPhone fraud.

The five men and one woman were held during raids in London, Essex, Birmingham and Middlesbrough by City of London Police on Wednesday.

The gang were accused of defrauding O2 and other mobile phone network providers in a sophisticated global premium phone line scam.

More than 900 iPhones were bought under false names and used to dial £10-a-minute lines around the clock, leaving the companies to pick up the bill.

Conspirators were accused of setting up a network of front companies to launder the profits and conceal their identities.

Mohammed Butt, 47, of Forest Gate, east London; Abrar Arshad, 35, of Essex; Loretta Charlton, 21, of Walsall; Niklil Jamsandekar, 32, of West Ham, east London; and Abioloa Salami, 29, of Birmingham, were charged with conspiracy to defraud.

The five were also charged with conspiracy to conceal £4.5 million in illegal profits between January and August this year.

A sixth man, Ade Deji James, 24, of Birmingham, was charged with possessing a sim card, letters and other confidential information for use in fraud.

He was also charged under the Proceeds of Crime Act with laundering more than £1,000 that came from crime.

A City of London Police spokesman said all six would appear at City of London Magistrates' Court today.

Three other men remain on police bail and two others are being interviewed by police.