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eCrime team exposes online jobs scam

A man who deceived online jobseekers into paying for non-existent employment checks has pleaded guilty today to fraud.

The man, Alexandru Hincu, posed as a legitimate recruitment consultant placing recruitment ads on Gumtree, the popular, classified, community website. He targeted vulnerable and eager overseas jobseekers, whose second language was English, and who were living in, and who wanted to work in the UK.

Hincu persuaded them to pay between £50 and £60 pounds for bogus Criminal Record Bureau, or CRB checks. He convinced them the checks were needed prior to giving them details for a job induction day that he never arranged.

His deception was brought to light following jobseekers’ complaints to the Citizens Advice Helpline Number and Action Fraud, and a subsequent investigation by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team (NTSeCT) jointly based at the City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council.

Hincu, aged 27 of North London, admitted various fraud offences contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 and was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 180 hours unpaid community work. He was also ordered to pay a total of £2466 compensation to his victims, which included £150 per victim for their inconvenience, and £5048.48 prosecution costs. Hincu had pleaded guilty to these offences at a previous hearing at York Magistrate’s court in September, but was referred to Leeds Crown Court for sentencing.

In sentencing Hincu, Recorder Wheeler said, “All the victims would have been emotionally upset by their experience. This scam had a great deal of sophistication and planning”.

Lord Toby Harris, chairman of the National Trading Standards Board who oversee the work of NTSeCT, said, “Preying on vulnerable people desperate for work will not be tolerated and I’m delighted that the National Trading Standards eCrime Team has played such a significant part in beating this fraud. Cases like this demonstrate, once again, that we will catch and prosecute online criminals who attempt to use the internet to deceive vulnerable people in this way.”