A Nigerian, 28-year-old Adideji Atitebi and three other fraudsters, who conned 100 victims out of approximately £500,000 have been jailed.

The Nigerian was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, said a statement made available to SaharaReporters on Friday by the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police.

The men were sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday, 24 July after being convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to money launder.

They were sentenced as follows:

- Gift Mangava, 41 (01.01.78) of Hart Dyke Road, Swanley was found guilty following a trial at the same court in June and sentenced to six years and nine months’ imprisonment;
- Alex Scurtu, 29 (23.05.90) of Ladysmith Road, Newham pleaded guilty October 2018 and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment
- Adideji Atitebi, 28 (21.01.91) of Quebec Road, Tilbury pleaded in November 2018 and was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment
- Darnel Morrison, 20 (07.07.99) of Tintern Avenue, NW9 pleaded guilty in January 2019 and was given a suspended prison sentence of 18 months; he was also handed a community order.

In May 2018, officers from the Falcon Organised Crime Unit launched an investigation into the gang after

Police enquiries established that Mangava was responsible for opening a number of bank accounts by using counterfeit identity documents.

The accounts would then be available for fraudsters to store the proceeds of their criminal activity.

The investigation established that the accounts would be used for two types of fraud. In some cases, fraudsters would place fake adverts for non-existent goods and services online. When victims would attempt to buy the goods, they were duped into transferring the funds into one of the accounts.

On other occasions, fraudsters would use specialist technology that would change the sender ID on text messages so it appeared the messages had been sent by a bank.

Victims would then be asked to provide personal information which would help the fraudsters gain access to their accounts and transfer their money into the bank accounts that had been set up by Mangava.

Mangava was identified during an intelligence-led operation into a larger fraud network, some of which have already been convicted.

On 1 June 2018, Mungava was arrested at an address in Canning Town, London.

Phone analysis linked him to Atitebi, Scurtu and Morrison by identifying WhatsApp messages from the four men around their criminal activity.

Police inquiries established that between 24 May 2017 and 23 May 2018, the four men worked together to defraud over 100 victims out of a total of £551,883.06.

The three other men were arrested and charged on dates between March and November 2018.

Sergeant James Tipple who led the investigation said: “These four fraudsters used sophisticated means to con innocent people out of thousands of pounds for their own financial gain.

“Our investigation has exposed their criminal activities and I hope this sentencing acts as a deterrent to others involved in this type of criminality.”

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