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Reading man jailed for trying to steal from pensioners in the US

Ernest Edjeren

A man's been given three years in prison for fraud and cyber crime offencers after trying to steal thousands from a retirement scheme in the United States.

Ernest Edjeren who's 39 and from Balfour Drive in Reading was found guilty by a unanimous verdict of three counts of fraud by false representation and by a majority verdict of causing a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access.

Between January 2016 and June 2016, Edjeren targeted members of the Orange County Employee Retirement System (OCERS), which is a pension company for retired public sector workers within Orange County in the United States.

He created fraudulent accounts for four members that were receiving payment by cheque.

After creating the accounts he changed their payment methods from cheque, to an online bank account, intending for their pension payments to be paid into an account under his control.

In total, more than £15,000 a month in pension payments were at risk had his actions not been identified and stopped.

Edjeren was caught after his IP address was traced through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) company which led the OCERS to his home in Reading.

He was arrested by detectives from SEROCU's Cyber Crime Unit and charged on the 20th September 2017.

Four laptops were seized from his home, all of which had recently been wiped, however data was recovered from two of the machines, which included a 'victim list' containing a list of elderly people in the United States, their social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and their credit card numbers.

Detective Sergeant Gary Hooks, who led the investigation, said: "This was a huge combined effort of many people,.

"My thanks goes to the US victims who supported the investigation throughout and provided statements to the police.

"Also I would like to thank the Orange County Employee Retirement Scheme which gave video evidence during the trial, and also to the Orange County Sheriff's Department for assisting with US-based enquiries.

"I believe the sentence passed to Mr Edjeren sends out a message that if you commit cyber crime offences, whether the victims are in the UK or abroad, we will investigate and seek justice for them.

"Hopefully the sentence can provide some closure to the victims and their families, especially considering that Mr Edjeren was deliberately intending to steal the pensions of elderly, retired workers.

"This conviction highlights the serious nature of cyber crime, and that attempts to hide your identity or activity online will be unsuccessful."

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