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Two ‘Nigerian’ fraudsters jailed in UK for stealing over £250k from COVID loan scheme

  For benefiting illegally from the United Kingdom’s coronavirus loan scheme, a Southwark Crown court has sentenced two persons of Nigerian ...


For benefiting illegally from the United Kingdom’s coronavirus loan scheme, a Southwark Crown court has sentenced two persons of Nigerian descent, Timilehin Olasemo and David Akinneye, to a total of over eight years in prison.

Under the UK Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), financial support is provided to small and medium-sized businesses affected by the pandemic; business owners can borrow as low as £2,000 and as high as 25 percent of turnover.


In a statement published on Wednesday by the Metropolitan police, Olasemo and Akinneye were said to have connived to benefit from illegal loan applications worth £489,000, and had received over £250,000 at the time of their arrest.


Olasemo, who is said to be a human resource executive, was charged to court over “conspiracy to commit fraud”, and impersonation.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to the offence in November 2020, and was sentenced to three years and two months in prison at the resumed court hearing on Wednesday.


David Akinneye, aged 33, is described as her accomplice, and was sentenced to five years and six months in prison.


David Akinneye. Photo: Metropolitan police, UK

“Akinneye was the first out of the two to be identified during ongoing enquiries into organised criminality by officers of the Met’s North West London Economic Crime Unit. Olasemo was identified from evidence seized during Akinneye’s arrest,” the statement reads.


“On Friday, 16 October, officers from Met’s North West Economic Crime Unit, part of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Central Specialist Crime Command, arrested Olasemo at her home address. She was charged and remanded in custody the same day.


“The investigating officers identified that £489,000 worth of fraudulent loan applications were made using ten identities. Of this, £297,000 worth of loans were successfully obtained by the pair and dissipated. The remaining amount was successfully stopped by the banks.


“It was discovered that Olasemo had obtained and used the personal details of eight individuals in order to fraudulently apply for the loans. She had stolen these identities after accessing employee records containing personal information during her employment.


“The fraudulently obtained monies was paid into the business bank account before being dispersed into mule accounts and later withdrawn from cash machines. Throughout this process, Olasemo sought advice from an accomplice named Olufumi David Akinneye.

 “Akinneye provided Olasemo with guidance in relation to laundering the proceeds of the frauds and safe addresses to use as correspondence for accounts. He also acted as a middle-man between people who were willing to sell on their bank accounts for use in fraud and other fraudsters who needed mule accounts to receive money obtained from diversion frauds.”


Speaking on the conviction, Chris Collins of the Metropolitan’s north west economic crime unit, said: “Today’s result serves as evidence of the zero-tolerance approach the MPS takes to individuals found guilty of fraud.”


“We will continue to crack down on individuals who are found to be exploiting government schemes for their own monetary gain,” he added.


Meanwhile, Akinneye, who was arrested in August 2020, was also found guilty of being involved in a romance scam.