AN Essex man has been jailed after he was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation against online gambling company Bet365.

Jon Howard, a 40-year-old of Tawney Lane, Stapleford Tawney, was jailed for five years for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday, April 13. 

He was also convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud against bank Santander.

READ MORE >> Protestors jailed for causing 'danger and disruption' by climbing Dartford Crossing

Jon Howard had always denied the charges but was convicted at the conclusion of a four-week trial ending on Tuesday, March 14 when he was remanded in custody until sentencing. 

He was part of a syndicate which created online accounts to bet without the limitations placed on a single account. 

He therefore collected bonuses to which he would never otherwise have been entitled.

Jon Howard was accused of being central to the criminal enterprise which dated back to 2008 and involved over 1,000 online betting accounts.

Throughout the fraud, it was estimated he received £236,000.

The court had heard how people willingly gave their details over to Howard, who then impersonated them to access Bet365 services. 

This enabled him to utilise bonuses and circumvent the company’s checks and balances. 

Leading the investigation, Det Sgt Mike Monckton, Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Betting online in someone else’s name is against the terms of use. 

“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.”

Jon Howard was found not guilty of money laundering.

Howard stood trial with co-defendant, Anna Nikolopoulos, 41, of Tawney Lane, Stapleford Tawney who was found not guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering.

Co-defendant Daniel Gorman, 45, of Theydon Park Road, Epping, was also cleared of money laundering, but pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud against Santander.

At the same court on Friday 21 April, Gorman was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. He must complete 100 hours of unpaid work.