A group of ‘money mules’ who defrauded Wonga with fake loan applications worth hundred of thousands of pounds were jailed at the Old Bailey on Monday.
Kelvin Okusanya, 31, from Coventry; Oluwamuyiwa Fasoranti, 32, from West London; and Sophia Pusey-Carroll, 46, from Harrow, were imprisoned for a total of more than 10 years after being convicted in November 2015 of entering into a money laundering arrangement.
Monika Solarz , 29, from North London, was also sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment having pleaded guilty to the same charge in February 2015.
(Left to right: Monika Solarz, Kelvin Okusanya, Oluwamuyiwa Fasoranti, Sophia Pusey-Carroll)
The fraudsters stole identities and then relied on a Wonga computer glitch meaning that questionable loans were not flagged up.
A City of London Police investigation between April 2012 and June 2013 found that more than 19,000 fraudulent loan applications worth more than £6.2m pounds were submitted to Wonga.com.
The glitch meant that more than half the loans were approved, with £3.8m being transferred into bank accounts held by money mules.
The criminals were found to be holding one ‘master’ Barclays current account with a large number of linked eSavings accounts.
The funds from the fraudulent loan applications were paid directly into the linked eSavings accounts, then transferred to the master account and withdrawn.
In this way, one customer was able to hold multiple accounts, making it hard for Wonga to detect that the funds were being paid to one individual.
Police believe the ringleader, Okusanya, fled to Nigeria and was sentenced in absentia.
Okusanya was the only one of the group found to be both submitting the loans and receiving the proceeds of the fraudulent applications, and was additionally convicted of three counts of fraud by false representation.
Between December 2012 and March 2013 he was found to have submitted 60 loan applications to Wonga, worth nearly £30,000, in the names of 60 different applicants with the monies being paid into 60 different bank accounts.
Before the City of London Police had the chance to locate and arrest Okusanya he had fled, with detectives believing he had returned to Nigeria.
City of London Police police staff investigator Andy Cope says: “This group of money mules would have been working in close partnership with the people making the fraudulent loan applications, together taking millions of pounds from Wonga and committing identity crime on an industrial level.
“Being a money mule may seem like a relatively harmless offence, but law enforcement views it very differently. We are committed to stopping those middle-men who enable fraud and other crimes.”
Fasoranti was jailed for three years, Pusey-Carroll for 21 months and Solarz for 18 months.
The same trial saw Omotola Wellington jailed for two years, suspended for two years. Michelle Deola recieved a 100 hour community order, Maureen Ako got a 15 month sentence suspended for two years, plus 200 hours unpaid work. Clement Bankole and Kerone Clayton each got a 40 hour community order.