soldiers and nurses in a $1.3 million benefits plot has been jailed in
the UK for six years.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.