Duo plun­dered £70k sav­ings

Salford Advertiser - - NEWS - Paul Brit­ton

TWO men plun­dered an el­derly woman’s life sav­ings af­ter more than £70,000 was fraud­u­lently re­moved from her bank ac­count.

Vic­tor Mu­hazi, 46, of Church Street, Ec­cles, and For­tune Ogege, 39, of Robert Hall Street, Sal­ford, pleaded guilty to money laun­der­ing.

A court heard that the email ac­count of the woman, who lives in Jer­sey, was hacked and two fraud­u­lent re­quests to her bank ac­count were sent.

The first re­quested a trans­fer of more than £52,000 to Mu­hazi’s ac­count, while the sec­ond re­quested more than £22,000 be de­posited in Ogege’s ac­count.

The sum rep­re­sented the ma­jor­ity of the woman’s life sav­ings and her bank ac­count was based in Liecht­en­stein, the court was told.

Po­lice said Mu­hazi and Ogege had with­drawn all of the vic­tim’s money from their ac­counts us­ing ATMs and over-the-counter with­drawals ‘within days’, leav­ing her ‘dis­traught’ and in ‘emo­tional and fi­nan­cial tor­ment’.

A Manch­ester Crown Court sen­tenc­ing hear­ing was told there was ‘clearly a third party’ who hasn’t yet been brought to jus­tice

Mu­hazi and Ogege weren’t aware where the money had come from, the court heard, and had been ap­proached by a per­son who asked for the use of their bank ac­counts.

Recorder Rowena Goode, sen­tenc­ing the pair, said: “You did so be­liev­ing it was for hon­est pur­poses. What you each then re­alised was that what you were deal­ing with was the pro­ceeds of crim­i­nal con­duct of some sorts. You con­tin­ued how­ever to with­draw and trans­fer money.”

Both men, who have no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, were sen­tenced to 12-month com­mu­nity or­ders with un­paid work.

Ogege must com­plete 180 hours and Mu­hazi 240 hours. Po­lice said that to date, the vast ma­jor­ity of the woman’s money re­mains out­stand­ing. Both men are now fac­ing hear­ings un­der the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act.

Det Con Jonathan Ro­man, of GMP’s Fraud In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team, is­sued a warn­ing to the public over per­sonal bank ac­count se­cu­rity.

He said: “This woman has suf­fered two years of emo­tional and fi­nan­cial tor­ment. Through no fault of her own, her email ac­count was hacked into and con­se­quently her de­tails were used to trans­fer more than £70,000 of her life sav­ings into the ac­counts of Mu­hazi and Ogege.

“This pair then couldn’t with­draw the money quick enough. You can only imag­ine how dis­traught the vic­tim was to find her life sav­ings had been stolen in this way and to this day she is still tens of thou­sands of pounds out of pocket.”

Vic­tor Mu­hazi

For­tune Ogege

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