© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Cybercrime: Six London-based Nigerians jailed in UK
SIX Nigerians resident in London have been reportedly jailed for forty-three years, for their roles in cyber theft worth millions of pounds in the United Kingdom (UK).
The gang, who are blood-related were among ten persons convicted between March 26 and 28, for their roles in a large-scale “diversion fraud” scam using hacking software; they used computer malware to intercept and steal the log-in details of email accounts belonging to businesses and private individuals worldwide, with the intent of identifying high-value financial transactions.
The convicts are Bonaventure Chukwuka, 41; Emmanuel Chukwuka, 27; Christian Chukwuka, 39; Andrew Chukwu, 35; Queen Chukwuka, 32; and Grace Chukwuka, 39.
Bonaventure Sunday Chukwuka, of Roding Gardens, Loughton was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, and conspiracy to conceal/transfer criminal property. He was also found guilty of possession of a prohibited item (a phone) in prison – sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment.
Andrew Chike Chukwu of River Road, Buckhurst Hill was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to conceal/transfer criminal property – sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Emmanuel Chike Chukwuka, of Roding Gardens, Loughton was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud. He was found not guilty of conspiracy to money launder – sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment.
Christian Chukwuka of Latchetts Shaw, Basildon, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to conceal/transfer criminal property – sentenced to five years and nine months’ imprisonment.
Queen Chukwuka, of Roding Gardens, Loughton was found guilty of acquiring/possessing criminal property – sentenced to a community order
Grace Plange Chukwu, of River Road, Buckhurst Hill was found guilty of acquiring/possessing criminal property – conditional discharge.
An investigation, by Met’s falcon fraud squad- a group of detectives specialized in the protection of people and businesses in London from all complex cyber crime and fraud, found out, the wild gang had a total of 228 separate frauds committed by the same network between 2014 to 2018, and totaling: £10,112,312.54.
The detectives identified a total of 165 “mule” accounts, opened with fake identification documents or bought from unscrupulous account holders.
Accordingly, the gang intercepted emails about these transactions and sent spoof emails, duping the victims into paying the funds into alternative UK-based “mule” bank accounts – accounts obtained and controlled by the fraudsters for this purpose – instead of the intended recipient.
The fraudsters used the funds from mule accounts to buy and export thousands of pounds of baby milk to Nigeria, to launder the money.
Abassi who established a sham company and opened business bank accounts and Zaman and Rahman who sourced the mule accounts were all arraigned.
Queen Chukwuka and Grace Chukwu, who are wives of Bonaventure and Andrew, received funds into their own personal bank accounts.
DC Chris Collins, a detective from the Falcon Fraud Squad, stated that the fraudster had been on cyber crime for four years, scamming both individuals and business organization, unaware of being caught someday. He posited, that a complex investigation diligently carried out fished them out.
“I hope this conviction sends a strong message to online fraudsters: we have the ways and means of tracing you and we will seek to bring you to justice,” Collins said.