A gang of fraudsters based in South London who used compromised card details and “money mule” accounts to commit almost £200,000 of fraud have been sentenced to over nine years in prison at Southwark Crown Court. A total of ten defendants were sentenced in the case, with six of them receiving prison sentences and four of them receiving community orders. This follows a successful investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit funded by the cards and banking industry that targets fraudsters.
The organised criminal gang conspired with Jason Yeboah, 25, a former NatWest employee who abused his position at the bank’s branch in Norbury to provide customer details that were used to commit fraudulent transactions. Some of the fraud was committed by ordering new debit cards for accounts and then using them to take out cash. Large transfers were also made to young people across the UK who had been recruited as “money mules”, allowing their accounts to be used to receive fraudulent funds and then withdrawing the money on behalf of the gang.
The fraud was spotted by investigators at NatWest who referred the case to the DCPCU. All victims were refunded.
Yeboah pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to three and half year’s imprisonment. Five members of the gang, all based in London (Simeon Adewale, Ougbenga Adubiyi, Temitayo Olaore, Jeff Adekoya and Alexander Ogun-Moweta) all received prison sentences of over nine months. One of these, Alexander Ogun-Moweta, 37, pleaded guilty to seven additional counts of fraud including conspiracy to buy a £65,000 Mercedes, and was sentenced to a total of 30 months in prison.
Four other defendants, who acted as “money mules” for the fraudsters and were based in locations across the UK including Bristol and Essex, pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and received community orders including a total of 540 hours of unpaid work. “Money mules” are approached by fraudsters and asked to receive and send money through their own bank accounts, sometimes keeping some of the cash for themselves. Being a money mule is illegal, and when someone is caught their bank account will be closed, they will have problems getting student loans, mobile phone contracts and credit in the future, and they could get a criminal record.
Detective Constable Ben O’Shea, who investigated the case for the DCPCU, commented:
“This group of criminals used stolen details to target customers and commit almost £200,000 of fraud. Today’s sentencing shows that the DCPCU will continue working in partnership with the banking industry to target the gangs responsible for fraud and bring them to justice.
“Some of the defendants also agreed to become “money mules,” allowing their accounts be used by the gang to transfer and withdraw fraudulent funds. It’s important to remember that being a money mule is a crime and if you are caught, your bank account will be closed and you will find it difficult to open an account elsewhere.”
Full list of sentencings
Jason Yeboah, 25, of Welley, Bexley, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to 3 ½ years’ imprisonment.
Gang of fraudsters
Alexander Ogun-Moweta, 37, of Castleton Road, Merton, was found guilty of fraud of on 23rd November 2018 at Southwark Crown Court. He subsequently pleaded guilty to seven further counts of fraud and was sentenced on 8 February 2019 at Southwark Crown Court to a total of 30 months’ imprisonment. He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for the charges related to this case.
Simeon Adewale, 26, of Staple Street, Southwark, pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment.
Olubenga Adubiyi, 25, of Winchester Close, Southwark, pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment.
Temitayo Olaore, 29, of Sudbury Avenue, Brent, pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment.
Jeff Adekoya, 25, of Nynehead Street, Lewisham, was found guilty of fraud on 23rd November 2018 at Southward Crown Court and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
Colin Ferguson, 30, of Griffin Manoy Way, Thamesmead, pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and was sentenced to an 18-month community order with 240 hours of unpaid work requirement and a three month curfew.
Amy Judson, 25, of Dagenham, Essex pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and was sentenced to 140 hours unpaid work.
Beth Keen, 25, of London, pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and was sentenced to 160 hours unpaid work.
One defendant from Bristol, who was aged under 18 at the time of offending, pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a 30 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR).
Notes to Editor
- For more information, please contact the UK Finance 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. The DCPCU achieved estimated savings of £25m from preventing and disrupting fraud in the first half of 2018. This brings the total savings from reduced fraud activity to over £540m since the unit was set up in 2002.
- UK Finance has launched a campaign in partnership with Cifas called ‘Don’t be Fooled,’ which aims to deter students and young people from becoming money mules. More information about the campaign is available here: http://moneymules.co.uk/