Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Nigerian jailed over phising scam

The scam had hit hundreds of UK students

A Nigerian national has been jailed for his part in a long-running £1.6 million student loan online phishing scam that drained the bank accounts of hundreds of UK students, police said.

Christopher Inokwere, 39, of Lilac Gardens, Bolton, was jailed for two and a half years at Southwark Crown Court for his part in a conspiracy to defraud UK banks and their customers of monies, Scotland Yard said.

Two other men have already been jailed for their part in the fraud, while one man awaits trial and another three were arrested in January and are on bail pending further inquiries.

The investigation dates back to August 2011, when Metropolitan Police officers were alerted to a criminal network who were contacting students on the Government loan scheme and asking them to update their bank account details on a bogus website. The fraudsters then withdraw up to £5,000 from the accounts at a time, police said.

Investigators also uncovered a sophisticated scam that targeted UK banks with hundreds of victims having their bank accounts drained of their savings.

Detective Inspector Jason Tunn, the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), said: "Inokwere was involved in a highly sophisticated and organised criminal enterprise and systematically targeted UK bank customers in order to steal large amounts of money.

"Despite the complexity of the investigation, PCeU investigators worked closely with the Student Loan Company and UK banking partners to identify those responsible and bring Inokwere to justice."

Last month, a 28-year-old man and a 33-year-old men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, and a 30-year-old man on suspicion of handling stolen goods. They have all been released on bail.

Last year Damola Clement Olatunji, 26, from Manchester, was jailed for six years and six months for admitting two offences of conspiracy and a money laundering offence.

Amos Njoroge Mwangi, 25, from Deptford, London, was jailed for three years and three months after pleading guilty to two fraud offences. Three women and a man have also been arrested during the investigation but were released without charge.