Five Nigerians have been sentenced to various jail terms by an Inner London Crown Court over the theft of £610,000 from business bank accounts.
According to reports, Victor Oke, 39, of Galleons Drive, Barking, used stolen data provided by Desmond Uyiosa Abifade, 25, of Henniker Road, Stratford, to falsely impersonate company directors via telephone banking.
Once Oke gained access, he diverted funds to ‘mule’ beneficiary accounts monitored by Moses Kuye, 28, of Connaught Road, Silvertown.
Melinda Mensah-Oke, 37, also of Galleons Drive, impersonated company directors when a female voice was necessary, while Arinola Kuye, 27, also of Connaught Road, acted as the group’s money launderer.
They were caught after being spotted by fraud investigators at HSBC, who passed the case to the dedicated card and payment crime unit (DCPCU) to investigate, Punch reports.
The DCPCU is sponsored by the banking industry and made up of officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service, bank investigators and support staff from UK Finance.
Police were able to analyse when and where the calls were made to identify the phones used and from there, the perpetrators.
All five were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, which they pleaded not guilty to.
On Wednesday, Oke was sentenced to four years in prison, while Moses Kuye was jailed for three years and three months.
Mensah-Oke received a fourteen month suspended sentence and Abifade a two year suspended sentence.
Arinola Kuye was given a 12-month community order and instructed to complete 50 hours of unpaid work.
DC Dave Cass, who investigated the case for the DCPCU said: “This was a concerted effort to commit fraud against two companies and profit from crime.
“The police take fraud very seriously and these sentences should send a message to fraudsters that you will be caught and punished.”
All losses were refunded to the genuine business account holders.