A fraudster involved in a £1.8m scam who skipped bail and fled the UK has been sentenced to five years imprisonment at the Old Bailey, following an operation led by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU).
Olanrewaju Bolaji Otukoya, 53, headed up a Luton-based gang that committed £1.8 million of fraud by intercepting cheques in the post that were intended for local businesses. He failed to answer his police bail in July 2014 and absconded to Nigeria. Since then the DCPCU have worked extensively with the Nigerian authorities to trace the fraudster and extradite him back to the UK.
The extradition was finally approved by the Nigerian courts in April 2018. Otukoya, who has several previous convictions for fraud, was sentenced on Friday 12 October to five years in prison at the Old Bailey, having earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud users of Royal Mail Postal Services.
Two other members of the gang, Moshin Abbas and Anjam Shah, both from Luton, were recruited by Otukoya to abuse their positions as workers at a Royal Mail sorting office by stealing post containing cheques destined for local companies. The intercepted cheques, worth over £1.8 million in total, were then paid into business bank accounts that were set up and controlled by Otukoya, using similar names as the target company. Abbas and Shah were sentenced back in 2016 to four years and five year and three months imprisonment respectively.
The gang of fraudsters was identified through a joint investigation by the Royal Mail and the DCPCU – the police unit 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. All the victims of the scam were refunded.
Detective Constable Jeremy Boxall, who is currently the lead officer on the case for the DCPCU, said:
“Otukoya played a leading role in committing large-scale fraud against local businesses and then tried to escape punishment by fleeing abroad.
“Now, thanks to close cooperation between the British and Nigerian authorities, he is facing justice back in the UK.
“This sends a strong message to others considering following a similar path – you will be caught and punished.”
Notes to Editor
- For more information, please contact the DCPCU press office on 0207 416 6750 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) is a unique pro-active police unit, with a national remit, formed as a partnership between UK Finance, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police together with the Home Office. It is fully sponsored by the cards and banking industries, with an on-going brief to investigate, target and, where appropriate, arrest and seek successful prosecution of offenders responsible for card, cheque and payment fraud crimes. It is headed up by a Detective Chief Inspector and comprises officers from the Metropolitan and City of London police forces who work alongside banking industry fraud investigators and support staff. Established in April 2002.