A 31-year-old Nigerian is serving a 5 year jail sentence for his part in a sophisticated phishing scam that targeted hundreds of UK students, using their compromised data to steal in excess of £1.5 million.
Olajide Onikoyi (26.04.84), a Nigerian national of Hexagon Close, Blackley, Manchester was among a number of cyber criminals who targeted students by sending them emails inviting them to update details on their student loan account via a link to a bogus website. He was jailed on Friday 13 December 2013,
“He played a significant role in the scam by systematically targeting British students.”
When the site was accessed by the unsuspecting victims, Onikoyi was able to gain unauthorised access to their bank accounts and extract large amounts of money.
One victim had £19,000 taken from their account. Onikoyi laundered £393,000 from 238 victims in total.
The scam was identified following a successful operation by detectives from the now-disbanded MPS Police Central e-Crime Unit.
As part of their inquiries, detectives worked closely with the Students Loan Company, the banking industry and internet service providers.
On 8 December 2012, working with colleagues from Greater Manchester Police, detectives executed search warrants at addresses in London and Manchester. A number of computers and associated storage media were seized from the properties and their contents examined, leading the investigators to identify Onikoyi’s involvement.
He was subsequently arrested when a further series of warrants was executed with the Serious Organised Crime Agency in Manchester on 9 January this year.
Detectives seized his computer, from which they recovered chat logs from cyber crime forums. These revealed Onikoyi was conspiring with others from Russia, Lithuania and the UK in order to compromise computers and associated bank accounts.
He was charged the following day and subsequently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud UK financial institutions of £393,000 and money laundering on 10 December.
He has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud and nine months imprisonment for money laundering, to run consecutively.
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Tunn, of the MPS Cyber Crime Unit, said: “My officers worked doggedly to secure Onikoyi’s conviction. They examined numerous leads to identify members of this phishing gang, of which Onikoyi was a key member.
“He played a significant role in the scam by systematically targeting British students and UK financial institutions in order to steal large amounts of money that were then dispersed across numerous bank accounts.”
“We’ve had a number of bank accounts and properties connected to Onikoyi restrained under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This is now subject to a financial investigation.”
Below are details of other members of the gang sentenced to jail:
On 11 June 2012 Amos Njoroge Mwangi (7.6.86) of 5 Rochdale Way, Deptford SE8 was sentenced as follows:
- Fraud by misrepresentation, contrary to Sec 1 Fraud Act 2006 – sentenced to 12 months.
- Making or adapting articles for use in fraud, contrary to Sec 7 Fraud Act 2006 – sentenced to three years, three months.
Both sentences to run concurrent. He was found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud.
On 6 July 2012 Damola Clement Olatunji (18.1.85) of 10 Hamsterley Avenue, Manchester M18 was sentenced as follows:
- Conspiracy to defraud the Student Loan Company – sentenced to 3 yrs 6 months years.
- Conspiracy to defraud Halifax Bank – sentenced to 2 years
- Money laundering – sentenced to 12 months years.
Sentences to run consecutively.
On 19 February 2013, Christopher Inokwere, 39, (03.10.73) a Nigerian national of Lilac Gardens, Bolton was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to
- Three and a half years for conspiracy to defraud UK Banks and their customers of monies (contrary to Common Law)
On 9 December, Ruth Smith-Ajala, 44 (25.04.69), a Nigerian national of Redlands Way, SW2 was sentenced to
- Five years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud, at Southwark Crown Court
A further five individuals were arrested as part of the investigation. Of those, four were released with no further action.
Comprehensive prevention advice can be found at www.getsafeonline.org. To report an offence contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.org.uk.