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Man pleads guilty to running multimillion-pound criminal website in Met Police’s largest ever fraud investigation | UK News

A man responsible for running a multimillion-pound fraud website pleaded guilty following the largest fraud investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

Tejay Fletcher, 35, pleaded guilty to running iSpoof, a website that allowed criminals and fraudsters to appear as if they were calling from banks, tax offices and other official bodies in an attempt to defraud victims.

They posed as representatives from banks including Barclays, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds, Halifax, First Direct, Natwest, Nationwide and TSB.

The total losses of frauds enabled by iSpoof in the UK alone exceeds £43m, with total global losses estimated to be at least £100m.

“I am incredibly proud of my team in the Cyber Crime unit who ran this investigation resulting in Fletcher pleading guilty. He was the ringleader of a slick fraud website which enabled criminals to defraud innocent people of millions of pounds,” Detective Superintendent Helen Rance said.

Read more:
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She added that the Met are doing “more than ever” to protect Londoners from cyber fraud and “devised a bespoke plan to reach out to victims who were targeted via iSpoof”.

Charges against Fletcher included making or supplying articles for use in fraud, encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, possessing criminal property and transferring criminal property, all of which he pleaded guilty to, when appearing at Southwark Crown Court.

Thomas Short, specialist prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, called fraud an “insidious crime” that causes “huge emotional distress and devastation”.

He said: “As the leading administrator of the iSpoof website, Tejay Fletcher helped to provide fraudsters with the tools to cheat innocent people on a shocking scale.

“I hope today’s conviction sends a strong message to criminals that they can no longer hide behind online anonymity.”

Fletcher will be sentenced on Thursday 18 May.

Website crashes after cheaper HRT prescriptions launched | UK News

Health officials have apologised after the launch of a new scheme to cut the cost of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was hit by technical problems.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) said it was aware of people “experiencing issues” while attempting to access the service online.

The new scheme, which came into force on Saturday, reduces the price of menopause treatments to less than £20 a year.

The plan was announced by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in February, saying it would save around 400,000 women in England up to £205 annually.

Before the rollout, each prescription for HRT cost £9.35, or £18.70 if a woman needs two types of hormones, and that needed to be paid once a month or every three months.

Now women can get a new HRT prescription prepayment certificate for £19.30 per year to access a list of eligible HRT items, including patches, tablets and topical preparations, whenever they need them.

But women have been unable to sort the certificate online due to issues with the NHSBSA website.

Welsh Labour MP Carolyn Harris posted an image on Twitter which appeared to show the website had crashed and asked “can anyone actually access the site?”

“This has been so hard fought for by women and they can wait no longer,” she added.

The NHSBSA said it was working to fix the problem, adding that women will be able to backdate their certificate if they buy it at a later date.

A spokesperson said: “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues when trying to buy an HRT PPC this morning following the introduction of the new service.

“We’re working to put a fix in place as soon as possible and we apologise for any inconvenience.”

Read more:
HRT prescriptions now cheaper under new scheme
Menopausal symptoms ‘forcing women to quit their job’

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How do perimenopause symptoms affect women?

About 15% of women aged 45 to 64 in England are currently prescribed HRT, according to DHSC figures.

The treatment can help relieve menopause and perimenopause symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats, brain fog, joint pains, mood swings and vaginal dryness.

It can also reduce the risk of hormone-related health problems, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

The new certificate can be accessed online or in some pharmacies and will mean women pay once to access treatments as many times as they need throughout the year.

The certificate includes access to eligible HRT items including patches, tablets, pessaries and gels and creams applied to the skin.

Man accused of filming castrations for ‘eunuch maker’ website appears in London court | UK News

A man has appeared in court accused of carrying out and broadcasting castrations on his “eunuch maker” website.

Marius Theodore Gustavson, 45, is one of a group of men arrested on Wednesday in London, Scotland and South Wales.

Nine people now face charges after penises and testicles were allegedly removed and the procedures filmed for paying subscribers.

Gustavson, 45 and originally from Norway but living in London, is accused of being the ringleader.

As well as five counts of GBH with intent, he’s also charged with making and distributing an indecent image of a child and possessing criminal property.

Westminster Magistrates Court was told Gustavson, who appeared in a wheelchair alongside other defendants, has had his own penis, leg and nipple removed.

Met Police said the charges relate to 13 victims, with the crimes said to have taken place between 2016 and 2022 and earning £200,000.

The accused men are said to have been part of a subculture in which people willingly undergo extreme body modifications, such as becoming “nullos” – short for genital nullification.

None have yet entered any plea and they have been bailed to appear at the Old Bailey in April.

Those charged with conspiring to commit GBH are: Ion Ciucur, 28, of Gretna; Peter Wates, 65, of Purley; and David Carruthers, 60, Janus Atkin, 37, and Ashley Williams, 31 – all from Newport, Gwent.

Damien Byrnes, 35, of Haringey; Nathaniel Arnold, 47, of Kensington and Chelsea; and Jacob Crimi-Appleby, 22, of Epsom were all charged with one count of GBH.