A payday loans boss commissioned hackers to launch digital attacks against his business rivals and a consumer complaint group.
The Cardiff Crown Court sentenced James Frazer-Mann, 35, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, to a four-month prison sentence that’s suspended for 12 months. The court also ordered him to carry out 180 hours of community service and to pay a fine of £530.
The convicted received his sentence after he pleaded guilty to five charges of commissioning hacking attacks.
Prosecutor James Davies told The Guardian that the trouble started after competitors allegedly targeted Frazer-Mann’s former business, a short-term loans firm called Elite Loans:
“He claims his company had initially been targeted by other companies. It’s an area of business which is highly competitive and some use unethical practices. He said he lost £1,000 a day when his website was targeted.”
At this time, it’s unclear whether those attacks actually occurred. But we do know Frazer-Mann hit back against those alleged attacks. And hard.
In one case, the payday loans boss paid two hackers £2,000 to conduct a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the websites of some of his perceived rivals.
When some people began complaining about his business tactics on a consumer complaint website called Consumer Action Group (CAG), Frazer-Mann responded by paying a hacker 100 USD to launch an attack against the CAG.
He was willing to go to any end to disrupt other businesses’ websites. But in the eyes of Consumer Action Group Marc Gander, his actions failed to achieve the desired effect. As he explained to BBC News:
“This shows the lengths these payday loans companies will go to in a bid to silence their critics. He was upset and contacted a hacker in the US. But it was a very stupid thing to do and it failed to work.”
Foolish is as foolish does.
The FBI first learned of Frazer-Mann back in 2013 when they closed down the websites of the hackers whom he had to paid to attack his competitors. They tipped off the National Crime Agency (NCA), whose officers eventually raided the home of the payday loans boss and placed him under arrest.
Elite Loans has since ceased trading.
Frazer-Mann now works as a carpet cleaner.