Wolverhampton refuge benefits from fraudsters' ill-gotten gains
Ill-gotten gains of fraudsters who preyed on vulnerable victims across the county have been gifted to a refuge supporting traumatised women and youngsters.
The collection of goods, which were obtained by criminals Marvin Campbell and Henry Ogunde, were donated to Wolverhampton-based charity The Haven after owners of the items could not be traced.
The Waterloo Road refuge, which was handed the items by the National Crime Agency, has since offered the goods to families affected by domestic violence, homelessness and abuse.
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Senior community fundraiser at The Haven Jade Secker said: “We are so grateful to the National Crime Agency for thinking of The Haven.
“Vulnerable women and children who are supported by The Haven have often had to flee their homes at a moment’s notice, leaving behind all of their personal possessions and items that make a house a home.
“Thanks to the National Crime Agency, donating items like TVs and consoles, we can provide some comfort and a welcoming, familiar atmosphere in our refuges for women and children whilst they come to terms with the trauma they have been through and begin to rebuild their lives away from the fear of abuse.”
The National Crime Agency worked with West Midlands Police and the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit to arrest the perpetrators and recover the property.
Items gifted to the refuge, which has been supporting women and children since 1973, include televisions, sound systems, games consoles and a home massage chair.
Rick Ward, of the National Crime Agency's West Midlands regional operations, said: “All efforts were made to trace potential owners before deciding to donate the items to a very worthy organisation which has extensive experience of helping the type of vulnerable people that Campbell and Ogunde targeted.
“We hope the items are of use and bring some happiness in what can be very difficult circumstances.”
Bilston fraudsters Campbell, then 28, and Ogunge, the
Bilston fraudsters Campbell, then 28, and Ogunge, then 33, exploited and defrauded victims in the West Midlands to create their £730,000 criminal empire, buying high value goods using fraudulently obtained credit card details.
The pair approached unsuspecting people on the county's streets, treating them to dinner and buying them clothes to gain their trust.
A KFC worker looking for extra cash, unemployed residents in social housing or who were homeless, and a retired doctor wanting to buy a house were all victims in their plot.
The 'money mules' were then used to set up bank accounts and fake companies, as well as move cash for the criminals, and threatened with violence if they refused.
Ogunde, formerly of of Goode Close, was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2015.
His co-defendant, of Willingworth Close, was initially sentenced to eight-and-a-half years, but later received an extra two months for going on the run.