Cyber criminals guilty of £3m Wonga scam
Internet users had identities stolen by gang members
A HAYES woman was part of a gang of cyber criminals who used the personal details of unsuspecting internet users to apply for loans from the website Wonga.
Michelle Deola, 23, of Langdale Avenue, Hayes, was given a community order with 100 hours unpaid work for her part in the £3m scam, which involved stealing the identities of thousands of innocent members of the public.
The gang used stolen details to secure payday loans from Wonga, leaving their victims liable to the one per cent a day interest payments.
The money was then laundered through hundreds of bank accounts by the gang, who made some 19,000 applications always using the same password – ‘Bengali90’.
Kelvin Okusanya, 32, of Lockhart Avenue, Milton Keynes, who masterminded the scam, was jailed for six years this week.
The Old Bailey heard he personally made 82 false applications involving 30 victims.
Deola was among six gang members to be convicted of laundering the proceeds of the cash through bank accounts under their control.
They included Olu Fasoranti, 32, of The Hollands, Feltham, who was jailed for three years; Sophia Pusey-Carroll, 46, of Byron Court, Byron Road, Harrow, who was jailed for 21 months; and Monika Solarz, 28, of Audley Road, Hendon, who was jailed for 18 months.
Omotola Wellington, 31, of Burnden Close, Brentford, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years; and Sherene Bascoe, 21, of Marlow Court, Pinner Road, Harrow, was sentenced to nine months suspended for two years.
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 he was satisfied the gang had intended to make many milllions of pounds from their crimes.
Prosecutor Richard Hearnden told the court: “The criminals netted more than £3m 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 fraudsters that were operating this scam probably bought readymade lists of potential victims and their personal financial data. How precisely this data was secured is not known.”
The trial focused on 30 victims, but this was ‘the smallest tip of a very substantial iceberg’ according to Mr Hearnden.
n FRAUDSTERS: (Clockwise from above left) Michelle Deola, Sherene Bascoe, Kelvin Okusanya and Monika Solarz
n GUILTY: Olu Fasoranti (left) and Sophia Pusey-Carroll