Two young Nigerians based in Manchester, United Kingdom have been punished by a Crown Court for their part in a Nigerian inspired internet banking scam which could have netted a phenomenal £19 million after hacking the accounts of nearly 2,500 people.
The Mail Online reported, yesterday, that Aderoju Bammeke, 22, and his girlfriend, Jessica Ogunyemi, 20, both of Manchester, were the UK ‘platform’ for a Nigerian ‘phishing’ scam that made £41,000 in just two months.
The plot, alleged to be masterminded by a gang based in Nigeria, involved sending fake emails to customers of banks including Barclays and Halifax.
According to The Mail report, the emails told recipients that their accounts had been hacked and asked them to complete a form with their log-in details.
“But when victims obliged, Bammeke stepped in and helped the gang log in to steal money.
“Fashion marketing student, Ogunyemi, his girlfriend at the time, helped him launder the proceeds by putting funds in accounts, hiding cash and allowing him to buy her a £2,400 Vauxhall Corsa.
“Bammeke has now been jailed for three-and-a-half years at Manchester Crown Court after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud and unauthorised computer use.
“Ogunyemi admitted five counts of money laundering and was given a suspended prison sentence.
“Investigators found evidence of the scam on seven devices at Bammeke’s home, which had accessed 181 accounts from his address.
“But Barclays found 2,439 customers had been affected and investigators say the true scale of the fraud will never be known.
“Bammeke admitted he had been involved in the scam for more than a year. He played a ‘key role’ as England’s ‘platform’ for the scam, the court heard.”
“He said if the gang had tried to log into accounts from Nigeria it would have triggered the banks’ alarm systems.
“Simon Nichol, defending Bammeke, said he felt regret and remorse for his actions.
“He said his involvement – which began in an effort to tackle student debt – was ‘sporadic’ and although the scam was large scale with international dimensions, Bammeke’s part was not.
“He added: ‘They needed a platform in this jurisdiction and they needed someone to provide that platform. He allowed them to use his computer remotely. He expresses further regret that he got his girlfriend involved in this.’
“Michael Lavery, defending Ogunyemi, said she had brought shame on her family, including her train driver father and mother who works for Manchester council.
“He said she had been ‘naive’, was predicted to get a first in her degree and was no longer in a relationship with Bammeke.
“Bammeke had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiracy to commit fraud and unauthorised computer use while Ogunyemi admitted five counts of money laundering.
“Sentencing Bammeke, Judge Recorder Gibson said: ‘This in my opinion was a sophisticated fraud, a clever fraud and a fraud which could very easily have resulted in very much more substantial money being stolen.’
“He jailed Ogunyemi for a year, suspended for two years, and ordered her to complete 180 hours’ unpaid work.