The mastermind behind a multi-million pound banking scam has been given a ten year prison sentence. However, he is currently on the run after obtaining his surrendered passport from the court during his trial in December. An international manhunt has been launched, with appeals set to be made on Crimewatch later this month.

Maxwell Parsons, aged 48, is a self taught computer programmer who single-handedly created a computer program that enabled the manipulation of banking systems to reverse transactions. This allowed Mr Parsons and his recruited associates to use money repetitively, costing the banking industry an estimated £2.5 million. The scam was active between December 2008 and June 2009, earning around £50k per day at its peak.

Mr Parsons operated the scam from homes and businesses in Manchester city centre, Withington and Fallowfield. Purchases were made all over the UK but mainly in Greater Manchester, where the majority of the gang was based.

Upon sentencing, Judge David Stockdale QC described Mr Parsons as an;

“articulate, intelligent, vociferous, domineering and a technically skilled and sophisticated fraudster…He had the ability to manipulate those around him and at times he showed the ability to manipulate members of his own legal team…Maxwell Parsons was the architect of this unique fraud. No other fraud like it has been detected elsewhere ever before or since. He created, tested and developed a computer program and masterminded its execution.”

Mr Parsons was given an immediate custodial sentence of seven years for conspiracy to defraud and a further three years imprisonment for an unrelated theft offence, which had been dealt with in January of this year. Two of Mr Parsons’ associates, Tahliq Khaliq and Mohammed Khan, were also sentenced for their involvement in the scam.

At Farleys we have a specialist team of cyber crime defence solicitors who can provide advice and representation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on all areas of serious crime. If you have been accused of involvement in relation to a fraud offence, or indeed serious crime in any capacity, it is vital that you speak to a criminal defence solicitor at the earliest opportunity. Early advice is often crucial. For 24 hour advice via our emergency crime line, call 01254 606050.