A convicted fraudster used a simple yet ingenious escape plot to trick prison guards into letting him go free, without paying a dime or facing the consequences of trying to escape his cell.
Wandsworth prisoner Neil Moore escaped from prison by sending a fake email through an illicit mobile phone he had obtained in the prison, where he further used the mobile device to create a fake email account and bail himself out of the prison, scotch-free.
Posing as a senior court clerk, Moore sent his own bail instructions to the prison staff, which released him on March 10, 2014. His scheme was uncovered only after the press had gone to interview him three days later, only to find him gone without trace.
28-Year-Old Moore from Ilford, east London turned himself over to the authorities three day after he made a successful escape with the unknowing help of the guards.
The Southwark Crown Court heard the case, saying he had setup a domain similar to the court service’s official address, likely performing a phishing-style attack.
Phising is where fraudsters setup a fake domain or email address tricking users into sending their details or information over for targeted websites, accounts or pieces of sensitive information.
Moore carried out the social engineering attack successfully, filing the bogus website in the name of investigating officer Det Insp Chris Soole, sending along the contact details for the Royal Courts of Justice.
“A lot of criminal ingenuity harbours in the mind of Mr Moore. The case is one of extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity, all apparently the developed expertise of this defendant,” prosecutor Ian Paton said.
The judge allegedly described the behavior in front of the court as an “ingenious” act of criminality.
Moore’s previously penalties racked up a fraudulent fine of some £1,819,000 (roughly $2,705,671) from previous crimes.
Moore’s previous cases involve the fraud and deception of bankers and the people behind financial organizations.
In one case, Moore posed as a staffer from Barclays Bank, Lloyds Bank, and Santander, where he managed to convince the large institutions to give him large sums of money for unknown reasons.
Often times he answered calls from victims using a man’s voice where he then pretended to transfer the call to a fellow colleague shortly before resuming the conversation in a woman’s voice, the court read in his list of charges.
Moore’s deception was so convincing, police initially charged his partner Kristen Moore with fraud and deception as well. All charges have since been dropped against her.
What’s particularly concerning about this story is that all emails sent through the prison network were, and currently remain unencrypted, not requiring any form of authentication. Meaning just about anybody could send faulty information through carefully crafted emails to the prison itself.
Moore pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud and one count of escape from lawful custody. Moore will be sentenced on April 20, 2015.