WINNIPEG -- Benjamin Harvey-Langton rolled into Winnipeg last winter in a posh Mustang GT, booked himself into a deluxe downtown hotel and rented a plush luxury condo -- a place to get down to business.
His occupation: being a key player in the largest credit card fraud operation ever uncovered in Manitoba's history.
On Wednesday, the 28-year-old international high-flyer left the downtown courthouse for prison after being sentenced to six years behind bars for his role in an ultra-sophisticated scam.
Harvey-Langton previously pleaded guilty to 66 charges, including possessing, using or trafficking in large amounts of illegally obtained credit card data and participation in a criminal organization.
"I have no hesitation in stating that this was a very serious offence," Judge Cynthia Devine said in a lengthy written decision. "Although the actual financial losses were small and all property has been recovered, the potential losses were of a magnitude not before seen in Manitoba."
Harvey-Langton and an accused co-conspirator were nabbed outside a Regent Avenue camera store Nov. 23 after trying to use a forged credit card to buy a DSLR camera. In searching the Mustang, cops found another 47 counterfeited cards.
But it wasn't until police searched the rented Bannatyne Avenue condo that the case became unlike any other seen in the province.
There, detectives found a veritable "credit card factory" of computers, blank cards and card-making machines, along with 2,447 card numbers and the personal ID information of 2,438 people, Devine said.
Searches of Harvey-Langton's computer revealed chat logs showing he was in "communication with an international underworld of credit fraudsters" for months or years, Devine said.
The Winnipeg "hit" -- purchasing and fencing Canon DSLRs for cash -- was being done to generate money to "invest" in an ATM fraud, she added.
Born in Nice, France, Harvey-Langton immigrated to England and studied international business in Germany. It was there he was introduced to the "criminal business" of credit card fraud, court heard.
In 2010, he was sentenced to a year in jail in the U.S. but deported back to England before the sentence was up. Being caught failed to deter him, Devine said.
"(Harvey-Langton) always hoped to be wealthy and successful, and that it was almost an addiction with him to have a luxe lifestyle," Devine said of his lawyer's description of his motivations. "The motive was purely financial gain and greed."
"He has never had a job," Devine said. "As he told police, he just 'does fraud'."
Devine said she was reluctant to impose a lighter sentence to have him deported sooner. When he's in jail, she said, his opportunities to commit fraud are severely hampered.
"Deporting him early would simply unleash him again," Devine said.
Co-accused Kevin Guo -- he and Harvey-Langton met in a Montreal comic book store -- remains before the courts.
Harvey-Langton also faces charges in Ontario and Quebec, court heard.