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Pair jailed after grooming vulnerable people to create £730k fraud empire

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A fraudster from the Black Country has been jailed, while another is wanted by police, after they groomed vulnerable people to create a £730,000 fraud empire.

Henry Ogunde, 33, and Marvin Campbell, 28, both from Bilston, approached people on the streets of the West Midlands, taking them for dinner and buying them clothes in order to gain their trust.

They then used the influenced 'money mules' to set up bank accounts, fake companies and move cash for them. If those they had groomed resisted they were often met with the threat of violence.

Those involved were offered up to £40,000 for their complicity but in reality at most, only received a few hundred pounds. Some of the people targeted for involvement included a KFC worker looking for extra cash, and a number of unemployed people living in social housing or with no fixed address.

The pair netted £730,000 of fraudulently obtained cash and goods in frauds that targeted major retailers and all levels of business as well as private individuals.

Campbell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, two counts of concealing, disguising, converting or transferring criminal property and possession of articles for the use in fraud.

Ogunde was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, two counts of merchant services fraud, one count of money laundering and two counts of possession of documents for use in fraud.

Last week the pair were jailed for a total of 14 years for the crimes.

Ogunde, of Goode Close, Bilston, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years. Campbell, of Willingworth Close, Bilston, who failed to appear at the sentencing, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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One scheme involved sending fraudulent emails to companies and private individuals pretending to be existing suppliers or customers. The fraudsters then fostered these relationships eventually requesting the payment of cash into a money laundering account. They then used those they had recruited to withdraw and move the cash.

This type of fraud saw them take £154,000 in one transaction from a retired doctor looking to purchase a house, leaving him with his life savings gone at the age of 71.

In another case, the fraudsters bought high value goods from retailers such as Ikea and Dixons using fraudulently obtained credit card details, with the two ringleaders diverting the goods from their legitimate delivery addresses.

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