A global fraudster from Brent has been jailed over a scheme to steal and sell £2.1 million of filming equipment.
Michael Banfield, 36, attempted to steal the expensive equipment from nine different companies across eight countries over six months.
By using a complex network of shell companies as well as fraudulently adopting a legitimate company's details to get filming equipment but never return it.
The fraud ran between June and November 2014 and operated in the UK, South Africa, Canada and the USA as well as others.
At least 15 items were advertised online for sale by Banfield and his associates in August 2014, under the company name World Wide Broadcast Solutions Ltd (WWBS).
Of these, at least one was sold, but police have still not been able to locate the stolen equipment.
Banfield even falsely obtained insurance documentation from legitimate companies, used false identities and stolen credit cards to help further his fraud.
In April 2015, a search was carried out at Buchannan's address in of Buchanan Gardens, Kensal Green , during which paperwork and mobile phones were seized by City of London Police.
They also found Banfield had used an alias to hire a storage container and a bank account, which was linked to his home phone number.
Banfield attended an interview voluntarily at Bishopsgate Police Station on May 11, 2015.
His accomplice, Jamie Jackson, 28, of Wigram Way, Stevenage, had acted as a courier in one of the offences in November 2014. He was arrested at one of the victim companies in November 2015 attempting to run the same scam.
Phone messages and business cards linked him to Banfield's WWBS outfit.
Jackson was handed a 12-month suspended sentence on Thursday (July 5). The following day at Southwark Crown Court, Banfield was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment for committing fraud by false representation.
Detective Constable Daniel Ward of the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad said: “The global scale of the investigation, along with the significant losses, false identification and frequent use of unregistered mobile phones by the suspects made this a complex case to investigate.
“The sentence received by Banfield today shows the severity with which we treat these offences; it should act as a warning to those looking to commit fraud that they will be caught, no matter how far their crimes spread.”