|Kelvin Okusanya has been jailed for masterminding a £3million Wonga scam|
The mastermind behind a £3million Wonga scam which used the identities of thousands of innocent members of the public to withdraw cash has been jailed for six years. Kelvin Okusanya, 32, was part of a gang which exploited the company's website algorithms to make more than 19,000 loan applications from April 2012 to June 2013 using the same password 'Bengali90'.
The cash was then laundered through hundreds of bank accounts by the fraudsters while the unsuspecting victims were left facing paying the one per cent a day interest payments. Okusanya was convicted of fraud after the Old Bailey heard he personally made 82 false applications involving 30 victims. The judge, Mr Recorder Sells QC, said: 'The names and details of wholly innocent members of the public were used to make fraudulent loan applications on a massive scale.
'Some were even contacted by Wonga for the loans they had not applied for and knew nothing about. 'Such offences are corrosive of the trust which people hold in the financial services sector. They are increasingly prevalent, they are easy to commit and hard to detect.'
The judge told Okusanya: 'You were described during the trial as the mastermind and one of the controlling minds of the whole of this fraud. 'I am satisfied that you were a leading member of a criminal enterprise which intended to get many millions of pounds.' Eight others were convicted of laundering the proceeds of the cash through bank accounts under their control.
Prosecutor Richard Hearnden told the court: 'The criminals netted over £3million by targeting one of Britain's most controversial institutions, the pay day lender Wonga.
'Wonga paid out on thousands of payday loans. Each of these loans was only for a few hundred pounds but added together these loans amounted to millions. 'The fraud came about by stealing the names, dates of birth, addresses, email addresses, mobile phone numbers and debit card numbers of literally thousands of ordinary members of the public. 'The fraudsters that were operating this scam probably bought ready-made lists of potential victims and their personal financial data. How precisely this data was secured is not known.'
Sophia Pusey-Carroll, 46, pictured left, was jailed for 21 months, while Monika Solarz, 28, pictured right, was jailed for 18 months
The trial focused on 30 victims but this was 'the smallest tip of a very substantial iceberg' according to Mr Hearnden. Applications were made online by entering names, addresses and dates of birth together with the debit card number used to make repayments and the details of the account receiving the cash. Wonga uses an algorithm to determine whether the information provided is correct and whether the account number matches the name and other details of the person applying for the loan.
Mr Hearnden said: 'It would appear that this algorithm failed. 'The result was as many as 19,000 fraudulent applications were successfully processed and paid out.
'The money was paid into bank accounts that had nothing to do with the people named in the loan application. 'Some repayments were actually made to Wonga fraudulently - in other words some innocent people made repayments for loans which they hadn't applied for.' Mr Hearnden said it was possible to identify 19,013 fraudulent applications by the same 'criminal outfit' because they used the same password.
'This password Bengali90 had slipped through the algorithms which hadn't noticed the criminality,' added the prosecutor. Okusanya, of Lockhart Avenue, Milton Keynes, denied but was convicted of three counts of fraud by false representation.
Olu Fasoranti, 32, left, was jailed for three years for his part in the scam, which was masterminded by Kelvin Okusanya, who was handed a six-year prison term
Police Staff Investigator Andy Cope, from the City of London Police, said: 'This group of money mules would have been working in partnership with the people making the fraudulent loan applications, together taking millions of pounds from Wonga and committing identity crime on an industrial level. 'Being a money mule may seem like a relatively harmless offence, but law enforcement views it very differently. We are committed to stopping those middle-men who enable fraud and other crimes.'
Olu Fasoranti, 32, was jailed for three years, Sophia Pusey-Carroll, 46, was jailed for 21 months and Monika Solarz, 28, was jailed for 18 months. Omotola Wellington, 31, was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years, Maureen Ako, 35, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work, and Sherene Bascoe, 21, was sentenced to nine months suspended for two years and 140 hours unpaid work.
Michelle Deola, 23, was given a community order with 100 hours unpaid work, and Kerone Clayton, 42, and Clement Bankole, 38, were given community orders with 40 hours unpaid work.
Wellington, of Burnden Close, Brentford, west London, Fasoranti, of The Hollands, Feltham, west London, Pusey-Carroll, of Byron Court, Byron Road, Harrow, north west London, Ako, of Snipe Close, Erith, south east London, Bascoe, of Marlow Court, Pinner Road, Harrow. Deola, of Langdale Avenue, Hayes, west London, Clayton, of Barnwood Road, Birmingham, and Bankole, of Walmer Terrace, Plumstead, south east London, all denied but were convicted of entering into an arrangement facilitating the acquisition of criminal property. Solarz, of Audley Road, Hendon, pleaded guilty to entering into an arrangement facilitating the acquisition of criminal property.
- Daily Mail