An illegal immigrant who headed a gang which used the identities of MPs, judges and police officers to con the taxpayer out of millions of pounds was jailed for more than five years. Kayode Sanni, 38, received a jail term of five years and three months for his part in the elaborate scam. Fraudsters stole personal details from the Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC), which provides sport and fitness facilities to more than 120,000 public sector employees and pensioners. Member lists were ‘stolen to order’ from CSSC and used to place orders for tax credit starter packs used in fraudulent claims over a four year period.
CSSC events manager Adedamola Oyebode, 30, stole membership lists and passed them on to her brothers-in-law Oluwatobe Emmanuel Odeyemi, 34, and Oluwagbenga Stephen Odeyemi, 39, who ran the fraud with Kayode Sanni, 38.The gang managed to get away with £2,500,000 before staff at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs spotted the ‘extraordinarily high rate’ of claims being made by civil servants.
If the scam had not been stopped it could have reaped more than £10,260,525, the Old Bailey heard. Illegal immigrant Sanni ‘lied through his teeth’ and told jurors ‘my conscience is clear’ after denying involvement in the scam. He was convicted after standing trial for one count of conspiracy to become knowingly concerned in a fraudulent act between 10 March 2009 and 11 June 2013. Sanni was jailed for five years and three months. Emmanuel Odeyemi, Chantelle Gumbs and Adedamole Oyebode had already pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Odeyemi was jailed for three and a half years, Gumbs was handed a 15-month sentence suspended for two years, and Oyebode received a two-year sentence suspended for two years.
Sentencing, Judge Paul Dodgson said: ‘This is a serious fraud you all involved yourself in. There is no doubt that much of the money has been sent to Nigeria.’
He told an earlier hearing: ‘This was a list of members of the Civil Service Sports Council and their personal details. Having obtained those personal details, they were then dressed up, as it were, with addresses that were controlled by one or more of the defendants. Having done that, a claim was then made, and that was by telephone calls being made for a pack to be sent that would enable claims to be made. Claims were then made in those genuine names with false details. When the monies were eventually released, they went into bank accounts that had been created specifically to receive these fraudulent proceeds.’
Sanni had expressed his remorse for the scam in a letter following his conviction.
Judge Dodgson rejected the conman’s expressions of remorse, noting: ‘He lied through his teeth. I think he is remorseful that he got caught. I’m sorry, I just can’t regard that as sincere. I can’t see how someone who contested the matter, who in the jury’s judgement, and in mine as well, just blatantly lied throughout and then claimed to be remorseful.’
Opening the case, prosecutor Allison Hunter QC said: ‘These defendants went to exceptionally complex and sophisticated lengths in their orchestration of this fraud. ‘They themselves operate under a number of fluid pseudonyms and false identities, operate a multiplicity of email address, have access to a number of mobile phone numbers and have spread the conduct of this fraud over computers and electronic storage devices sufficient to stock a small warehouse.’
Ms Hunter said: ‘These individuals conspired together to obtain in excess of £10,260,525.33 in fraudulent tax credits using the identities of 10,300 police officers, MPs, members of the judiciary, and civil servants for example, whose personal data and information was stolen from the Civil Service Sports Council.
‘The CSSC provides leisure events and activities together with sporting and fitness facilities to approximately 120,000 Public Sector employees or pensioners, including civil servants, local government employees, the NHS, teachers, police officers, fire fighters and HM Armed Forces personnel.’
Sanni, of Moorland Road, Leeds, denied but was convicted of one count of conspiracy to become knowingly concerned in a fraudulent act between 10 March 2009 and 11 June 2013.
Adedamola Oyebode, of Knapmill Road, Bellingham, southeast London, and Chantelle Gumbs were handed suspended sentences, while Stephen Odeyimi of Grafton Road, Dagenham was jailed for three and a half years.
Oluwatumininu Banjo, of Grafton Road, Dagenham, and Stephen Odeyemi, of Palmer Avenue, Gravesend, are believed to be on the run in Nigeria.