Two jailed for £1.5m phishing scam

08 July 2012

Damola Clement Olatunji

A case involving a sophisticated phishing scam that targeted hundreds of UK students; using their compromised data to steal in excess of £1.5 million concluded on Friday 6 July.

[B] Damola Clement Olatunji (18.1.85) was jailed at Southwark Crown Court for 6.5 years for his involvement in the scam, which was identified following a successful operation by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).

"They were fraudsters who targeted British students in order to steal large sums of money,"

A second man, [A] Amos Njoroge Mwangi (7.6.86) was jailed for three years, three months at an earlier hearing on 11 June.

Whilst there is no evidence that the two defendants worked together, both were responsible for scamming students by targeting them through government loan schemes after sending emails inviting them to update details on their student loan account via a link to a bogus website.

When the site was accessed by the unsuspecting victims, the suspects were able to gain unauthorised access to their bank accounts and extract large amounts of money - ranging from £1000 to £5000 at a time.

As part of their inquiries, detectives worked closely with the Students Loan Company, the banking industry and internet service providers.

On 7 December, working with colleagues from Greater Manchester Police, detectives executed search warrants at addresses in London and Manchester. A number of computers and associated storage media were seized from the properties.

Computers seized from Mwangi revealed he had numerous computer programmes which enabled him to build phishing emails and register fake websites. Forensic evidence from Olatunji revealed in excess of 1,300 student loan account log in details and investigators were able to link him to £304,000 worth of actual fraud and £162,000 attempted fraud. Investigators also found evidence he was involved in a separate fraud valued at £75,000 against Halifax PLC bank customers.

Detective Inspector Jason Tunn, PCeU said: “Mwangi and Olatunji were determined fraudsters who systematically targeted British students in order to steal large amounts of money. Despite the complexity of the investigation, PCeU investigators working closely with the Student Loan Company and other partners, were able to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”