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Three Nigerians bag 11 years imprisonment in UK over £429,304 fraud



Three Nigerians and one other person residing in the United Kingdom have been jailed by Portsmouth Crown Court for a combined total of 11 years after duping Vodafone, EE, O2 and Carphone Warehouse of £429,304.

According to a UK-based online newspaper, The News, the four convicts, Oluwadamilola Bolaji, Taofeeq Balogun, Taiwo Agusto and Carriba Johnson were guilty of the offences.

Their offences were revealed after a Hampshire resident told the police that between Friday 14 February 2020 and Wednesday 19 February 2020, four mobile phone accounts had been opened up in his name without his permission or knowledge.

It was reported that EE contracts had been taken out in the Fareham and Waterlooville Carphone Warehouse stores and phones were also taken out in O2 and Vodafone stores.

Hampshire police then contacted EE who discovered the resident’s details had been manipulated for a series of frauds.

Operation Waterspout was set up as a Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary investigation into the Organised Crime Group who were involved in high value commercial fraud.

The fraudsters used stolen personal details of existing customers from all over England and Wales to take out new phone contracts and obtain expensive mobile phones and similar items such as Apple Watches and iPads.

According to the court, the sentences handed them were as follows: Bolaji, 32, of Black Eagle Drive in Gravesend, Kent, admitted his part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £145,000, and was jailed for six years and three months.

Also, Balogun, 30, of no fixed address in Basingstoke admitted his part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £25,000. He has been jailed for three years.

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In the same manner, Agusto, 43, of Osbourne Road in Dartford, Kent admitted his part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £3,000. He has been jailed for one year and nine months.

Lastly, Johnson, 31, of Nelson Square in Southwark, London also admitted her part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £2,500. She has been given a suspended sentence of 24 months imprisonment, the News said.

The investigation including a search of the group’s homes where many forged documents were seized including fake passports, bank cards, bank statements, utility bills and stolen driving licences was launched by the authorities.

Many of the items were used in the fraud to receive mobile phones connecting by cell site data, sharing SIMS going into handsets, and also by bank transactions between themselves.176 phone company customers had their details used for 602 fraud transactions but did not experience any financial loss.

Reacting to the incident, DC Owain Davies from the Hampshire Police Economic Crime Team said the sentences will serve as a deterrent to others who defraud people to survive.

Davies said, “This investigation involved extensive analysis of a huge amount of financial documentation in order to gather the evidence needed to put these offenders before the court. I hope that these results send a clear message to those who commit fraud that their actions won’t go unnoticed and that this type of behaviour will be investigated fully.”

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