London fraudsters have been jailed for a total of more than 43 years following the theft of millions of pounds from businesses and individuals.

A police news release provided details of each individual involved in the gang of fraudsters.

– Bonaventure Sunday Chukwuka, 41 from Loughton was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, and conspiracy to conceal/transfer criminal property (money laundering). He was also found guilty of possession of a prohibited item (a phone) in prison – sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment.

– Andrew Chike Chukwu, 35 from Buckhurst Hill was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to conceal/transfer criminal property – sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

– Emmanuel Chike Chukwuka (brother), 27 from Loughton was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud. He was found not guilty of conspiracy to money launder – sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment.

– Christian Chukwuka (brother), 39 from Basildon, Essex was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to conceal/transfer criminal property – sentenced to five years and nine months’ imprisonment.

– Nadeem Abbasi, 48 from Wembley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convert/conceal criminal property – sentenced to two years and three months’ months imprisonment.

– Mansoor Zaman, 27 of no fixed abode was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, and conspiracy to conceal/transfer criminal property. He was sentenced to six years and nine months’ imprisonment.

– Queen Chukwuka, 32 from Loughton was found guilty of acquiring/possessing criminal property – sentenced to a community order

– Grace Plange Chukwu, 39 from Buckhurst Hill was found guilty of acquiring/possessing criminal property – conditional discharge.

– Ionut Relu Muresan, 34 of Long Deacon from E4 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to money launder – sentenced to five years’ imprisonment

– Mohammed Rahman, 31 from Peckham was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to conceal/transfer criminal property – to be sentenced at a later date.

Detectives identified a total of 228 separate frauds committed by the same network of people over a four year period. The total was £10,112,312.54.

A total of 69 victims provided evidence during the trial. Several victims were traced with the help of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

The gang used computer malware to intercept and steal email accounts belonging to businesses and private people all over the world.

A total of 165 “mule” accounts, opened with fake I.D documents or bought from unscrupulous account holders, were identified by detectives during the investigation.

One of the fraud victims was a small construction company with a small team of employees. It was defrauded out of nearly £13,000 by the group in 2017 and had to close as a result of the scam.

Officers will now begin confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to try and recover the money stolen.

DC Chris Collins, of the Falcon Fraud Squad, said: “This gang of fraudsters were unscrupulous, organised and prolific, and over a period of four years stole millions of pounds from unsuspecting businesses and individuals, and lived an extremely comfortable life with the profits.

“The frauds were brazen, and this gang clearly thought they could continue with their criminal lifestyle without detection. However, arrests followed what was a complex investigation carried out diligently by the Met’s Falcon Fraud Squad, with hundreds of fraud reports being reviewed by detectives trawling through financial records.

“The evidence amassed by detectives and presented during the trial pointed towards a large-scale, planned fraud operation which involved payments arranged between two parties being successfully intercepted and diverted by this gang, into “mule” accounts set up for the purpose of receiving stolen funds.

“I hope this conviction sends a strong message to online fraudsters: we have the ways and means of tracing you and we will seek to bring you to justice.

“We would advise anyone conducting financial business by email to verify the bank account they are sending their money to, by contacting the intended recipient and taking precautions to ensure the money is going to the right place.”

Commander Karen Baxter, National Police Coordinator for Economic Crime at the City of London Police, said: “As the national lead force for fraud, Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau are responsible for ensuring that the UK can better identify, investigate and detect fraud and cyber crime. As a result of the reports made to Action Fraud, the Falcon Unit has been able to achieve justice for the hundreds of victims affected by these substantial crimes.

“This case is a shining example of law enforcement using a joined-up approach to combat fraud and cyber crime.”

You can also find out more about online fraud and report offences via Action Fraud – call 0300 123 2040, or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk

(Source and image Credit: news.met.police.uk)

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