Croydon fraudster must pay £1m or spend six years in jail
A fraudster who claimed benefits while living in luxury in Nigeria must pay more than £1m or face jail.
Ovo Mayomi and his wife Juliet Ubiribo were convicted of fraud in 2010 after using an identity and immigration scam to falsely claim £43,000 in benefits.
The couple’s assets were frozen, and an investigation into the amount the Nigerian pair gained from their crimes was launched.
Croydon Council discovered 44-year-old Mayomi, who received a 30 month sentence two years ago, owed a home worth more than £1m in Nigeria, complete with chandeliers, £89,000 worth of sound equipment and a £25,000 watch.
As well as two money-transferring businesses and bank accounts, investigators also discovered Mayomi, who lived in with 32-year-old Ubiribo in Longheath Gardens, owned a fish farm in the African country.
At a hearing at Croydon Crown Court on Friday Judge Nicholas Ainley ruled that Mayomi must pay £1,197,743.54 by March 14 next year or face six years in jail, with the debt remaining.
At an earlier hearing Ubiribo was told to pay £9,357.42 or face five months in jail.
The pair’s scam saw Ubiribo claiming to be a single parent claiming housing and council tax benefits.
She then asked the council to rehome her to escape domestic violence, but the number given for her landlord was in fact that of Mayomi, under a false name.
At a police interview, Mayomi admitted he bought the false identity in Nigeria and had entered the UK as him. Mayomi was also shown a wedding photograph of himself, using the false ID, marrying a Nigerian woman in the UK. He admitted he was the groom in the wedding photo but he said he was "just standing in for someone".
Councillor Dudley Mead, deputy leader of the council, said: "This is a landmark case for Croydon as it is the first time the council's in-house financial investigator has pursued a major confiscation order of this nature.
"As a result of our investigator's fine work, the council expects to be able to claw back as much as £400,000 in taxpayers' money."