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Man jailed for Bet365 bonus abuse conspiracy

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
Jonathan Howard, a 40-year old from Stapleford Tawney, Essex, was jailed for five years for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation against online gambling operator Bet365.
Police Wales Gambling Den

While he denied all charges, Basildon Crown Court convicted Howard at the conclusion of a four-week trial, at which point the Stapleford Tawney resident was remanded in custody until sentencing. The court also convicted Howard of conspiracy to commit fraud against the bank Santander but found him not guilty of money laundering.

The charges related to a syndicate that created online accounts to bet on without the limitations that would normally be imposed on single account. Therefore, those involved were able to collect bonuses that would not be available to users under Bet365’s terms and conditions.

Those who gave over their details did so willingly to Howard, who then impersonated them to access Bet365 services, thereby accessing bonuses and getting around the company’s checks and balances.

The enterprise, which dated back to 2008, involved over 1,000 online gambling accounts. Howard is estimated to have received £236,000 over the course of the fraud.

“Betting online in someone else’s name is against the terms of use,” said Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate detective sergeant Mike Monkton. “The whole enterprise was dishonest and designed to deceive the gambling company.

“When we were notified in 2018, we embarked upon a lengthy and complex investigation that took some time to unravel. When we executed a warrant at Jon Howard’s address in Stapleford Tawney in February 2019, it was obvious that this was set up to look like any other legal business.

“Hours were spent trawling through paperwork in different names, receipts for luxury items, bank books and 177 sim cards that were seized from the address. Substantial sums of money were involved.”

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