Two British Nigerians have been jailed for Covid bounce back loan scheme scam which saw them fraudulently obtaining £489,000 from eight people.
Thirty-nine-year-old Timilehin Yvette Olasemo, of Bedale Road, Romford Essex was sentenced to three years and two months for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation while her co-defendant, 33-year-old Olufumi David Akinneye, of Cowthorpe Road, Lambeth, exploited a government loan scheme to fraudulently obtain the money using the identities of eight individuals.
At the beginning of the pandemic, UK government created the coronavirus bounce back loan scheme to help struggling businesses. The loan scheme was set up to ensure that applicants were looked upon favourably, meaning that limited security checks were undertaken.
Southwark Crown Court heard how Olasemo exploited the weaknesses in the application system and realised that she, with assistance of others, could create fake businesses – using the identities of real people – to apply for the loans.
As the business account had been registered to a separate address from the personal account holder’s address, its existence would not become apparent to the real personal account holder until the bank chased them for the loan repayments.
Akinneye was identified first during ongoing enquiries into organised crime, while Olasemo identified from evidence seized during Akinneye’s arrest.
It was identified that the pair had made £489,000 worth of fraudulent loan applications; £297,000 was successfully obtained before the bank stopped the remainder.
Olasemo stole the eight identities after accessing employee records containing personal information during her employment. The stolen monies were dispersed into mule accounts to then be withdrawn at cash machines.
Akinneye, was jailed for five years and six months for conspiracy to commit fraud and launder money.
The pair pleaded guilty on November 12, 2020 at Southwark Crown Court, before returning to be sentenced earlier in March 2021.