Ayinbode (L) & Molly (R)
A Nigerian bank worker based in the UK, Courtney Ayinbode, has bagged 38-years jail term alongside six others for raiding bank accounts of wealthy clients to fund their luxury lifestyles. Ayinbode, 29, Tajinder Galsinh, 35, Molly Jones, 24, and Benjamin Omoregie, 26, were all involved in the 'high-level and sophisticated' scam that took place between 2012 and 2013.
‘The four insiders scoured the computer system for rarely-accessed accounts holding large sums of money before passing the details to the criminal gang. They also ordered new bank cards so impostors could pose as the customers and set up transfers of hundreds of thousands of pounds at a time.
The money was then laundered through a series of bogus companies before being moved offshore to prevent it being recovered.
One victim lost more than £750,000 after a unknown man used a fake driving licence in his name to set up two transfers over three days. Another customer with £3 million in the bank only avoided becoming a victim when another member of staff became suspicious and rang him up to check.
The money was handled by 'bespoke money launderer' Eddie Lakes, 41, and his henchman Kushveer Raulia, 25, through a complicated network of fake companies and accounts with the help of Parvez Hussain, 50.
Prosecutor Paul Cavin said 'a lot of expensive designer clothing and shoes' were found in Omoregie's car boot, including a Vivienne Westwood shirt worth £230.
Omoregie had previously refused to tell police where his car, holding the stash of designer goods, was located.
Mr Cavin said the gang 'were all involved in an agreement to defraud Lloyds TSB of millions of pounds'.
He continued: 'Accounts belonging to people with large balances - in some cases several millions of pounds - were targeted.
'To identify those rich accounts, an insider, an employee of the bank was recruited to help the gang.
'The insider would then assist in breaching the security protocols in order to steal the money.
'The money would be transferred to accomplices who would swiftly transfer the money through a number of bogus businesses before eventually the money would disappear offshore.
'Once it is offshore it can come back onshore and nobody can trace it.'
The first victim lost £750,975 in the space of three days after his account was accessed by both Ayinbode and Omoregie at the Balham and Streatham branches of Lloyds TSB in July 2013. A few days later the customer's address was changed and a new card was issued to the new address.
Then on August 5, a man claiming to be the customer went into the King's Cross branch to ask to set up a transfer.
Staff accepted the imposter's bogus driving licence as genuine and authorised the transfer, even though the customer's local branch was in Clapham, south London.
The money was laundered through a bogus company operated by Raulia.
The network of fraudulent businesses had been set up by Lakes, who has previous convictions for providing a 'bespoke money laundering service' to criminals. He recruited Raulia as his front man.
Mr Cavin said: 'Raulia provided a ready made money laundering structure, limited companies with bank accounts both here and overseas.
'What these accounts allow you to do is to transfer money to a number of other accounts that equally do not seem to have any legitimate purpose.'
Raulia then withdrew 'significant quantities of cash' and used £860 of it to pay off his credit card.
Following his arrest he claimed the money going in and out of his businesses was related to legitimate trading.
Galsinh and Jones were involved in the attempted fraud on the account of Thomas Murphy at time when it had a £3 million balance.
Jones set up a CHAPS payment of £486,000 - supposedly for a house purchase - after an impostor came into her branch of Lloyds TSB.
Investigation of her mobile phone revealed messages relating to the Murphy account and a description of the man impersonating the customer.
Galsinh was involved in opening more than half of all the suspicious bank accounts which were set up at the Feltham branch.
Jailing Ayinbode, Jones, Omoreji and Galsinh for a total of 20 years, Judge Anuja Dhir QC said: 'You had accessed to valuable, sophisticated client information, you abused the trust your employers placed in you - you passed on that information and compromised bank accounts.
'You all knew that money would be dishonestly transferred from client accounts as a result of your actions.
'Such was the sophistication of this fraud that the money was money was dissipated and spent in a professional and organised manner.
'You were friends acting together and with others to steal as much money as you could. You were motivated by financial gain.'
Jailing Lakes, Hussain and Raulia for a total of 18 years, she said: 'All of your accounts were fraudulent and conducted no legitimate trade - these accounts were an integral part of the laundering process.
'Hundreds of thousands of pounds were laundered through them - often from other accounts connected with Mr Lakes.
'Large quantities of cash were withdrawn from them by Mr Raulia designed to mask the criminal activity and and frustrate the efforts of law enforcement in tracing the funds.'
Raulia, from Hayes, west London, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of converting criminal property and was jailed for seven years.
Lakes, from Brentford, was jailed for a total of five years.
He was jailed for three years for converting criminal property for the Lloyds Bank fraud, with two years consecutive for conspiracy to defraud and money laundering for a separate, unrelated fraud.
Ayinbode, from South Norwood, southeast London, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud between 9 November 2012 and 8 August 2013 and was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Galsinh, of Hayes, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud and was jailed for six years.
Hussain, of Romford, east London, was convicted of converting criminal property and was jailed for six years.
Jones, of Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex, admitted conspiracy to defraud ahead of trial and was jailed for five years.
Omoregie, of no fixed address, admitted the same charge and was sentenced to four years imprisonment.