Stephen Donnelly successful in £1.8 million fraud prosecution

18 October 2018

Stephen Donnelly recently concluded a case at the Central Criminal Court regarding a £1.8million cheque fraud. A gang of fraudsters, headed up by a Nigerian Prince, Olanrewaju Otukoya, were found to have committed £1.8 million of fraud by intercepting cheques in the post that were intended for businesses based, principally, in the Bedfordshire area. They were identified in 2014 through a joint investigation by the Royal Mail and the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit - the police unit sponsored by the banking industry and made up of officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service, bank investigators and support staff from UK Finance.

Two other members of the gang, Moshin Abbas and Anjam Shah, both from Luton, were recruited by Otukoya to abuse their positions as workers at a Royal Mail sorting office by stealing post containing cheques destined for local companies. The intercepted cheques, worth over £1.8 million in total, were then paid into business bank accounts that were set up and controlled by Otukoya, using similar names as the target company.

Stephen Donnelly told the court: "It is this defendant who was responsible for the creation, monitoring and funding of the accounts - he was the banker of the conspiracy. Whilst on bail, Mr Otukoya tried to avoid jail by fleeing to his native Nigeria, but was subsequently extradited." Cheques worth just under £2million were stolen, the gang are thought to have made more than £1million between them.

Abbas and Shah were sentenced in 2016 to four years and five year and three months imprisonment respectively, Otukoya was sentenced on October 12th 2018 to five years imprisonment. For more information and press reports, see links below:

  1. Evening Standard
  2. Luton Today
  3. Pulse Nigeria