A gang of Nigerian fraudsters are facing jail in the UK for using the identities of MPs, judges and police officers to defraud the government of £10million.
The fraudsters used stolen personal details from the Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC), which provides sport and fitness facilities to more than 120,000 public sector employees and pensioners in the UK. Member lists were ‘stolen to order’ from CSSC and used to place orders for tax credit starter packs used in fraudulent claims over a four year period.
Adedamola Oyebode, 30, who is CSSC events manager stole membership lists and passed them on to her brothers-in-law Oluwatobe Emmanuel Odeyemi, 34, and Oluwagbenga Stephen Odeyemi, 39, who ran the fraud with Kayode Sanni, 38.
Sanni, an illegal immigrant, denied being involved in the fraud and told Old Bailey jurors ‘my conscience is clear’ as he stood trial alone.
But he was convicted of one count of conspiracy to become knowingly concerned in a fraudulent act between 10 March 2009 and 11 June 2013.
Judge Michael Topolski QC remanded him in custody and said: ‘I’m quite satisfied at this stage that there is a significant risk that if he were released on bail he would fail to attend.
‘In my judgement the situation has changed drastically.
‘He chose to contest this matter against what I considered to be overwhelming evidence.
‘His incentive to stay in this country has now diminished.’
Three others Emmanuel Odeyemi, Gumbs and Adedamole Oyebode have already pleaded guilty and will be sentenced with Sanni at the Old Bailey on 6 July.
However, prosecutors dropped charges against Emmanuel’s wife Oluwatosin Oyebode.
Prosecutor Allison Hunter QC said: ‘These defendants went to exceptionally complex and sophisticated lengths in their orchestration of this fraud.
‘They themselves operate under a number of fluid pseudonyms and false identities, operate a multiplicity of email address, have access to a number of mobile phone numbers and have spread the conduct of this fraud over computers and electronic storage devices sufficient to stock a small warehouse.’
Ms Hunter said the investigators began by identifying one of the multiple false tax credit claimants as Chantelle Gumbs, who has admitted her part in the scam.
The source of the stolen identity was traced to the CSSC in Chadwick Street, Westminster, where six staff had password protected access to members’ details, Daily Mail reports.
Adedamole Oyebode, who worked for the CSSC between August 2008 and August 2010, has since admitted supplying lists of members and their details in return for payment.
She also made calls to the tax credit helpline to obtain application packs.
Further investigation revealed the fraudsters had used the details to create false identities, buy online insurance and open false bank accounts to receive the cash.
The profits of the scam were then transferred out into either their own accounts or through Western Union facilities set up by Sanni and Emmanuel Odeyemi.
Jurors were told that two of the gang, Stephen Odeyemi and his wife Oluwatumininu Banjo, 40, have fled to Nigeria and are wanted abroad.
Ms Hunter said: ‘These individuals conspired together to obtain in excess of £10,260,525.33 in fraudulent tax credits using the identities of 10,300 police officers, MPs, members of the judiciary, and civil servants for example, whose personal data and information was stolen from the Civil Service Sports Council.
‘The CSSC provides leisure events and activities together with sporting and fitness facilities to approximately 120,000 Public Sector employees or pensioners, including civil servants, local government employees, the NHS, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and HM Armed Forces personnel.’
Sanni, denied but conspiracy to become knowingly concerned in a fraudulent act – but was convicted of the crime.
Adedamola Oyebode, Stephen Odeyimi and Chantelle Gumbs, will be sentenced alongside him for fraud charges on 6 July at the Old Bailey.
Oluwatumininu Banjo, and Emmanuel Odeyemi, are believed to have fled to Nigeria.