Jailed: Dagenham man who committed £300k fraud against village halls, football clubs and small businesses
PUBLISHED: 08:41 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:41 20 November 2017
A Dagenham man who conned amateur sports groups and small businesses out of £300,000 has been jailed for four years.
Nigerian national Ahmed Otun, 41, of Walfrey Gardens, Dagenham, defrauded non-professional football clubs, village halls and solicitors’ firms in a ruse known as mandate fraud.
It involves the fraudster asking someone to change their direct debit, standing order or other bank payment by pretending to be a regular business supplier or beneficiary.
Otun and one other man tricked the organisations into transferring money into a false account by sending an email pretending to be a known company operative such as a treasurer or financial director.
Otun was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering at Kingston Crown Court on Friday.
He was sentenced to four years for conspiracy to commit fraud and 22 months for money laundering. Both sentences will run concurrently.
Okwudili Chinze, 44, a Nigerian national of no fixed abode, was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud and fifteen months for money laundering, both to run concurrently.
He previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering.
Both men were also disqualified from directorships for ten years.
Falcon, the Metropolitan Police’s online fraud squad, found the men had set up a company called Britannia Security to facilitate the payments.
A variety of manuals detailing how to hack into emails were also found on Otun’s computer.
Acting Falcon DS Matt Wigg warned people to be cautious when transferring money online.
He said: “Many of the victims linked to this case were tricked into sending money to criminals’ accounts after they were sent a spoof email with change of payment details.
“Always verify changes to financial arrangements with the organisation or person directly on the phone, or go via the company’s main switchboard to check if an email is genuine.
“Never reveal bank account details via email or on unsecure networks.
“Trust your instincts and always check before transferring money, because it will be extremely difficult to recover once you’ve sent it.”
For more information or advice, visit actionfraud.police.uk