Man jailed for money laundering after £300,000 gain from internet scam
A man who carried out various internet scams worth more than £300,000 has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Kayode Apata of Whitehorse Lane, Croydon, conned up to 30 victims, who paid money into his bank accounts over a two-year period up until May 2012.
Police were alerted to the 27-year-old after £21,000 was paid into a bank account in his name in May 2012 by a victim in Australia.
Officers from Croydon's criminal finance team carried out further enquiries and an investigation uncovered several bank accounts in Apata's name, showing payments being made into them for several thousands pounds from accounts abroad including the United States.
After contacting some of the people who had made payments, it emerged they had been conned into transferring the funds through Internet scams.
Some had been the victim of an elaborate 'Lonely Hearts' fraud where someone using a false identity establishes a relationship with the victim online and after gaining their trust, persuades them to send money to a bank account often citing an emergency scenario for why the need the money.
Other victims were duped into transferring money after receiving an email that a distant relative in the UK had recently died and they were entitled to inheritance money, a story completely fabricated by the fraudsters.
Apata was charged with money laundering and found guilty following a two day trial at Croydon Crown Court.
Detective Constable from the criminal finance team said: "Apata received over £300k in payments from people all over the globe and whilst we found no evidence that he took part in the frauds himself, he was undoubtedly aware that these payments were being made into his account as a result of fraudulent activity by others.
"Although none of the victims in this case were from the UK, it does serve as a stark reminder to people to be extremely wary and careful when engaging with people they do not know over the Internet."
For crime prevention information visit met.police.uk/crimeprevention or actionfraud.police.uk.
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