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They were convicted between March 26 and 28, and the Blackfriars Crown Court only sentenced them to a combined 43 years and community service on May 2.
All of them were sentenced to various jail terms after being found guilty of crimes ranging from impersonation to money laundering. The six Nigerians shared two surnames, and the police identified at least three of them as brothers.
Queen and Grace are wives of Andrew and Bonaventure, and they were found to have received illicit funds into their respective bank s. The Nigerian suspects were found to have lavished their ill-gotten wealth on expensive fabrics and jewelleries, including Cartier and Rolex watches.
At least 69 victims testified in the trial.
The UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau closed in on the syndicate after several victims reported the fraud online with specific details of how they were swindled. Detectives subsequently identified a pattern amongst members of the gang and the reported cases. The gang used computer malware to intercept and steal the log-in details of s belonging to businesses and private individuals worldwide, with the intent of identifying high-value financial transactions, the court heard.
The s were specifically set up and controlled by the fraudsters for their illicit acts. They were used to receive the proceeds of the diversion fraud, where the money was quickly transferred onto other s, some of which were untraceable.
The fraudsters also used the funds from mule s to buy and export thousands of pounds of baby milk to Nigeria in an apparent money laundering. Bonaventure Chukwuka was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He received two years and three months for his involvement. The police hailed the ruling as a victory for their efforts against Internet fraud, and promised to intensify their crackdown on perpetrators. The verdict comes barely a few months after a Nigerian politician was jailed in the UK for human trafficking.
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