How Nigerian-led Gang Splashed £350k On Luxury Goods After BT, PayPal Accounts Scam In UK
All but one of the eight-strong syndicate were jailed on Wednesday at Portsmouth Crown Court.
The group carried out the scam between May 2014 and July 2016, and are thought to have victimised more than 2,000 people.
Judge Timothy Mousley QC told the defendants: “Whilst the financial loss falls to be met by the financial institutions, the impact on those who had their details stolen cannot be under-estimated.
“Many of them speak of their heightened levels of anxiety, stress and fear as a result of finding out their accounts had been hacked.”
Michael Forster, prosecuting, explained that the gang targeted people across the country but focused on the Hampshire and Portsmouth area.
He explained that they operated by accessing the BT and PayPal accounts using stolen personal details and diverting receipt and delivery messages and emails so that the victims were “kept in the dark”.
The goods fraudulently purchased included Rolex and Breitling watches, Versace clothes, jewellery, furniture and televisions.
Mr Forster said: “This was a sophisticated conspiracy to commit fraud which persisted for about two years.
“The personal details of a large number of members of the public, many who were BT or PayPal customers, were obtained by the fraudsters.
“The customers’ finances were used to fraudulently order high value goods such as watches, jewellery, televisions as well as more mundane items such as furniture or food.”
In a statement read to the court, one victim said he was “fearful” of making financial transactions and added: “I remain angry because no-one has the right to have taken the money I have worked hard for.
Festus Emosivwe, 36, of Portsmouth, who was at the centre of the conspiracy, was jailed for three years and eight months for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Jailed for the same offence were Chloe Maylott, 27, of Havant, who was sentenced to 16 months and Charles Onwu, 31, of Portsmouth, who was sentenced to three years and seven months.
Also jailed for their part in the conspiracy were Adel Qadir, 35, of Portsmouth, who was sentenced to two years and five months, Molade Fasuyi, 37, of Southsea, who was jailed for two years and Olukayode Adepoju, 40, of Portsmouth, who was sentenced to 19 months.
Victor Ngo, 30, of Portsmouth, was jailed for three years and seven months for the same charge and conspiracy to convert criminal property.
Pinelopi Chatzikonstantinou, 30, of Southsea, was fined £1,000 and a £100 victim surcharge for conspiracy to convert criminal property.
The court heard that Emosivwe was at the centre of the conspiracy and was responsible for obtaining the personal details, placing the orders and arranging deliveries.
A Hampshire Police spokesman said: “The defendants spoiled themselves with fraudulently purchased Rolex and Breitling watches, Versace clothes, jewellery, furniture and televisions.
“Enquiries carried out by BT uncovered that the suspects had links to Hampshire, at which point our specialist team became involved.”
Culled from Evening Standard