Three Nigerian fraudsters living in the UK have been sentenced to 16 years imprisonment after they were found guilty of using names of more than 200 dead children to launder profits from an attempted £1m VAT fraud.
The trio also used names of sports personalities to swindle £250,000(about N76m), dailymail.co.uk reports.
Saheed Oyeneye, 35(pictured above), Rasaq Omotunde, 38(pictured first right), and Oluwakemi Adesaogun, 38(pictured below), all from south east London, set up hundreds of bogus online HMRC accounts to ‘get rich quick’ off the public purse.
The Nigerian-born adopted false identities of hundreds of unsuspecting victims, and stole the identities of more than 200 dead British babies, before using their names to bombard the government with tax repayment applications.
They also adopted the identities of sports personalities, including cricketers and rugby union stars, by scouring the internet for their personal details and cobbling together a fake profile.
The three men also targeted thousands of members of the public as they attempted to swindle £1m, Southwark Crown Court was told.
In total, the gang managed to pocket around £250,000, which was banked across hundreds of accounts which had been set up under false names.
But the trio were rumbled early on by HMRC and did not pay out more than three-quarters of the money.
At the peak of the fraud, the thieves were using more than 20 internet cafes to register up to 301 new accounts a day
Oyeneye, from Hither Green, Omotunde, from Sydenham and Adesaogun, from Woolwich, all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud.
Yesterday, Judge Stephen Robbins jailed Oyeneye for five and a half years, Omotunde for six years and Adesaogun for five years.
After the sentencing, Christopher Gill, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: ‘This trio thought they were running a high-tech and sophisticated fraud using a series of addresses and internet cafes to set up accounts using stolen data.
‘They bombarded the system with applications for tax repayments from these fake accounts, in the hope of getting rich quick.
‘These fraudsters thought the anonymity of the internet would protect them.’
He added: ‘This case demonstrates that we can and will track down and prosecute those who attack our online systems.
‘This was nothing but a common repayment fraud attempt which our systems quickly identified as bogus. HMRC shuts down the vast majority of bogus repayment applications.’
The trio will face confiscation proceedings at a later date but most of the money has already vanished.
Source: Daily Mail