The manager of a payday credits organization employed PC programmers to attempt an attack on a consumer rights site after it had conveyed clients’ grievances about his payday loans business. The FBI accosted James Frazer-Mann, 35 after he paid American programmers to dispatch an assault on the Consumer Action Group (CAG) website.
The Cardiff Crown Court heard from several witnesses how Frazer-Mann, the proprietor of Elite Loans, paid programmers to target the sites of his business competitors. The Cardiff Crown Court sentenced Frazer-Mann, who hails from Barry, South Wales, to four months in jail, and his business license suspended for 12 months. The judge further ruled that he must complete 180 hours of unpaid work and pay £530 in expenses after compelling evidence clearly showed he was guilty of five charges of appointing the hacks.
Several witnesses recounted to the court how Frazer-Mann reached out to the hackers following his organization’s censorship on the CAG site, a UK platform for the discourse of consumer rights. One remark identifying with Frazer-Mann’s firm said, “These organizations are going after people in a defenseless position and making life harder, they ought to be brought down!”
James Frazer-Mann sourced the programmers from an online gathering about hacking and paid one to bring the CAG site down. However, it failed to work. Besides which he also paid an extra £2,000 to the programmers to organize digital assaults against the sites of his competition. They used a hacking strategy known as conveyed refusal of administration, which regularly floods a site with redundant requests to overburden its frameworks.
James Davies, who was part of the prosecution team, stated, “The impact of such assaults cripples the target company since the payday loans industry largely depends on websites to create and maintain business.” The court learned of how Frazer-Mann utilized the Liberty Reserve installment payment system, whose headquarters are in Costa Rica, and gave power to the clients to wire money simply by providing a name, date of birth and email address.
US government in May 2013 shut it down after reports surfaced linking it to dozens of wanted cyber criminals. Amid the FBI’s investigation into the system, the FBI found Frazer-Mann’s conversations with the programmers and immediately informed officers in the UK. During a raid by officers in his UK home, they found and confiscated his personal computer.
Davies said, “While recording his statement, Frazer-Mann said his organization had in the recent past been the victim of such attacks from different organizations. It is a territory of business, which is very aggressive and some payday loans organizations use deceptive tactics to get ahead of the competition. He said Frazer-Man lost £1,000 each day in the period was a victim of such attacks.” Ben Douglas-Jones, Frazer-Mann’s defense attorney, told the court the CGA site had published his client’s personal information putting his marriage on the verge of collapse and went ahead to urge clients to get in touch with him.
Douglas-Jones added, “There is little likelihood of my client committing further offenses to cripple his competitors. He has taken up employment as a carpet cleaner.” The court also heard that Frazer-Mann’s payday loans company, Elite Loans, has stopped its services. Judge Eleri Rees, Cardiff’s recorder, told the businessperson in his ruling that, “For over two years you sort to use revenge in an attempt to bring down competitor websites. You were ready to spend huge resources to accomplish your motive.”
After the passing of the ruling, Marc Gander, CAG’s founder said, “This demonstrates the lengths at which payday loans organizations will go to silence dissatisfied clients and critics. He found himself in a corner resorted to higher US hackers. However, it ended up being a stupid move that bore no results.” CAG is a free site with over 350,000 individuals who share consumer experiences and offer advice.