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Two jailed for crime gang’s cyber scam

18 May 2018

TWO MEMBERS of a Nigerian organised crime group who committed more than £1m worth of fraud and money laundering after staging a mass phishing con have been jailed after a National Crime Agency investigation.

Emmanuel Mmaduike and Olawale Kashimawo, both 31, spent the money on a lavish lifestyle – hiring a helicopter, driving flash cars – and regularly posed for photographs of themselves with wads of money, expensive watches and drinking champagne. Confiscation orders are being pursued against both men.

The duo’s organised crime group (OCG) was based in south-east London and obtained thousands of business email addresses and passwords enabling the group to divert payments due to the companies to themselves.

Mmaduike’s role was to fraudulently access victim email and alter invoices to direct payment to mule bank accounts run by Kashimawo, of Claycorn Court, Esher, Surrey. Kashimawo subsequently laundered the cash by arranging withdrawals and international bank transfers carried out by other fraudsters.

The pair are believed to have committed more than £1m worth of fraud and money laundering between April 2015 and November 2015.

In March last year Mmaduike, known as Bigdoz, was jailed for six years and 10 months after admitting money laundering, fraud and perverting the course of justice in relation to a sham marriage to a Dutch national.

Officers from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) began investigating in November 2015 after receiving a report of a £24,000 fraud. Investigators arrested Mmaduike at his home in Ashmore Road, Woolwich, London, in 2016.

They recovered masses of evidential data and forged documents showing he had a bogus wedding with a woman who flew in and out of the UK in just 10 hours for their ceremony.

On 17 May, at Kingston Crown Court, Kashimawo, was jailed for six years and nine months. He admitted two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering - one relating to his partner Mmaduike and the second relating to OCG accomplices.

NCCU head of investigations Tony Adams said: “This case is about business email compromise and cyber enabled fraud.

“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.

“The NCA and our partners are continuing to tackle business email fraud and money laundering. It is imperative victims report such compromises as soon as possible and retain all evidence.”