A DARTFORD fraudster who 'masterminded' a £650,000 money laundering scam has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Janarthanan Arunasalam, 36, of Strickland Avenue was sentenced at the Old Bailey following a six week trial following an investigation by the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), the specialist police unit sponsored by the banking industry through Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK).

Arunasalam organised the fraud against the account of a high-value customer of Nationwide building society, with £562,4000 stolen.

He was found guilty of a further fraud of £97,525 against a Halifax customer account – making a total of £659,000.

During the trial, evidence from Arunasalam’s mobile phone revealed his role in organising and facilitating this fraud, which took place between 23 October and 19 November 2009.

DCI Dave Carter, Head of the DCPCU, said: "Arunasalam masterminded a sophisticated money laundering scam which saw him steal hundreds of thousands of pounds from customers’ accounts.

"We are delighted he has received a lengthy custodial sentence in recognition of this serious criminal enterprise.

"Unravelling this scam was challenging, and made possible only through the police and banks working closely together to secure these convictions."