Tony Colston-Hayter: Brighton fraud machine maker jailed


Device built by fraudster Tony Colston-HayterImage copyright
Met Police

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The device was used to access bank accounts containing more than £500,000

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An “audacious criminal” who built a homemade device to help him defraud hundreds of people has been jailed.

Tony Colston-Hayter, 53, used the machine to trick people into thinking he was their banking provider.

The Met Police said Colston-Hayter, also known as Tony Muldowney-Colston, had obtained more than £500,000 from the accounts he accessed.

Colston-Hayter, from Brighton, was jailed for 20 months at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday.

A search of his home uncovered a hard drive containing details of passports as well as 32 credit cards.

He had also accessed names, addresses and email addresses and phone numbers from members of a private club in London, according to a Met spokesman.

Police said Colston-Hayter had used the machine to alter his voice so it would match the age and gender of his victims when he called the banks.

Image copyright
Met Police

Image caption

Police said Tony Colston-Hayter had conned people out of more than £500,000

The machine, known as a semi-automatic social engineering bank telephone machine, also played a pre-recorded message from banks to its customers.

Officers also found a spreadsheet of his victims’ details, and a flowchart showing how to commit a mobile phone Sim card swap fraud, the Met said.

Colston-Hayter admitted nine counts of possessing an article for use in fraud and two counts of making or supplying an article for use in fraud on Monday.

Following his arrest in June, he told officers he had created the device with the intention of accessing bank customers’ accounts containing a total of more than £500,000.

Colston-Hayter was described by Det Insp Philip McInerney as “an audacious criminal” who said the scam had affected hundreds of people with “the potential to affect many more”.

“He shows no concern for the welfare of any individual or organisation, and has made it clear he will use a range of methods to achieve significant financial gain for himself,” Det Insp McInerney added.

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