FRAUD:HOW TWO NIGERIANS OPENED 752 BANK ACCOUNTS IN THE UK

FRAUD:HOW TWO NIGERIANS OPENED 752 BANK ACCOUNTS IN THE UK
A Nigerian fraudster who hijacked the identities of
soldiers and nurses in a $1.3 million benefits plot has been jailed in
the UK for six years.
Chibuikem Uzoma-Ubani and another Nigerian partner in crime opened 752 bank accounts to perpetrate the fraud.
Chibuikem
Uzoma-Ubani, 29, persuaded several lovers to help him launder the
profits from the swindle that targeted tax credits and Sure Start
maternity grants, reports The Daily Mail.
Denisa Camacho,
28, of Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, and Katrina Papiernikova, 27, of
Romford, Essex both had relationships with Uzoma-Ubani, after arriving
in the UK from Slovakia and were accused of turning a blind eye to his
activities.
Uzoma-Ubani, of Romford, Essex, married Camacho in 2004, then divorced her and had two children by Papiernikova.

The
women both insisted they knew nothing about his crooked schemes and
were both cleared of money laundering, but a third lover Ornela Miguel,
26, admitted the offence. Uzoma-Ubani and fellow Nigerian Leonard
Nwannenah, 33, of Dagenham, Essex, opened a ‘bewildering’ 752 bank
accounts using the names of hard-working medics and members of the armed
forces over a six-year period.

The pair were jailed Monday for six years each while Miguel was handed a three-month sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Nwannenah’s
younger brother Okechi Nwannenah, 30,
of Dagenham and Okechi’s wife
Jennifer Okonkwo, 29, also allowed their bank accounts to be used to
launder the proceeds.
Okechi was conditionally discharged for 18 months while Okonkwo will be sentenced later.
Prosecutor
Peter Finnigan QC said the gang netted at least £665,000 and would have
made $1.3 million had all of the bogus applications for benefit
payments been successful.
He said: “This case concerns the sophisticated and professional fraud operation which went on for a number of years.
“This was done by targeting the UK’s benefit system and by cheque fraud.
“They used a bewildering number of post office and bank accounts which numbered in the hundreds.
“Some
of the accounts were in the names of the fraudsters themselves, some
were in the names of others who were willing to help them, and yet
others were in the names of identities which had been hijacked by the
fraudsters.
“They did not get away with everything they tried because fraudulent applications were weeded out.
“In
one such instance, a serving member of the army, had his identity
hijacked, and not only were cheques diverted to Mr Uzoma-Ubani, but
applications for benefits were made in his name, albeit in Uzoma-Ubani’s
hand writing.”
The prosecutor added that Uzoma-Ubani had
159 bank accounts, either in his name or an alias, and police seized
£200,000 from them. Leonard Nwannenah controlled at least 42 accounts
and admitted he had used many more after illegally entering the country.
“The total number of bank accounts was 752, used in the identity frauds,” said Mr Finnigan.
“Of
those 752, 282 and were active accounts in that they received the
proceeds of the frauds, and during the course of the investigation over
£1 million had passed through them.
“The remaining 360 or so accounts were being prepared for future frauds.”
Sentencing
at The Old Bailey Monday, Judge John Price said: “It was an extremely
sophisticated fraud using three different types; intercepting cheques,
tax credit fraud, and false maternity grants.
“These required several false identities, and false national insurance numbers.
“In some cases they assumed the identity of nurses, falsifying their pin numbers to potentially have taken £1.3 million

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