Following a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation, two members of a Nigerian organised crime group (OCG) based in south-east London have been jailed after committing more than £1 million worth of fraud and money laundering between April 2015 and November 2015.
Both aged 31, Emmanuel Mmaduike and Olawale Kashimawo’s OCG obtained thousands of business email addresses and passwords enabling the group to divert payments due to the companies to themselves.
Mr Mmaduike’s role was to fraudulently access victims' emails and alter invoices to direct payment to mule bank accounts run by Mr Kashimawo of Esher, Surrey.
Mr Kashimawo subsequently laundered the cash by arranging withdrawals and international bank transfers carried out by other fraudsters.
Officers from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) began investigating in November 2015 after receiving a report of a £24,000 fraud.
Mr Mmaduike was arrested at his home in London, in 2016 after investigators recovered masses of evidential data and forged documents showing he had a sham wedding to a woman who flew in and out of the UK in just 10 hours for their ceremony. He was jailed in March last year for six years and 10 months after admitting money laundering, faud and perverting the course of justice in relation to a fake marriage to a Dutch national.
Mr Kashimawo has been jailed for six years and nine months after admitting two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering - one relating to his work with Mr Mmaduike and the second relating to OCG accomplices.
Over the course of time Mr Mmaduike and Mr Kashimawo’s spent the money hiring a helicopter, driving flash cars and regularly taking photographs of themselves with the money, expensive watches and drinking champagne. Confiscation orders are being pursued against both men.
NCCU head of investigations Tony Adams said: “The OCG sent out convincing emails to victims purporting to be from well-known service providers and companies asking them to input their details. They could then alter payment details.
“UK businesses should exercise caution when authorising significant transactions – particularly if there is a last-minute change of account details. If in doubt speak to the intended recipient of the funds on the phone prior to making a large payment. Keep passwords safe and do not use the same passwords for multiple online accounts.”
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