‘Gay’ asylum seeker in £220,000 fraud plot had children with three women
A CONMAN who was granted asylum due to homophobic persecution went on to have three children with three women and ran a £220,000 parcel fraud plot.
Refugee Saheed Azeez, 33, left his native Nigeria and was allowed to settle in the UK after saying Boko Haram militants tortured him.
But after moving to Wigan, Azeez fathered three children with three women, marrying the third, and then arranged to steal items being sold on eBay, Facebook and WhatsApp.
Prosecutors said Azeez carried out the ‘sophisticated and well-resourced’ scam by persuading sellers to post secondhand items such as smartphones without being paid first.
He created a network of strangers to receive the parcels, addressed to fake IDs, at their homes. He then collected and sold the items via his brother’s electrical shop and passed on a cut of the profits to his fellow fraudsters using Bitcoin.
From September 2020 to November 2021, up to 272 victims lost out on a total of £ 220,000. Police eventually tracked down Azeez while he was dropping off his young son at primary school.
As he was about to be detained, he hid three smartphones used in the scam inside the boy’s school bag and they were later found by a teaching assistant.
Azeez now faces up to six years in jail after he admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and plotting to possess criminal property at Bolton Crown Court.
He is due to be sentenced next week. Andy Evans, prosecuting, said: ‘In the summer of 2021, police in north Manchester investigated reports of large numbers of parcels being sent to addresses in the area which were part of an online fraud. This unusual volume of parcel deliveries led police to a number of addresses all linked to Azeez.’
Mr Evans added: ‘Nine people allowed their addresses to be used and there is a clear pattern of them being desperate for money.’ Chloe Fordham, defending, said: ‘His [Azeez] role in the fraud wasn’t sophisticated and he only received a small percentage of the profits.’
She said that while Azeez now considers himself to be bisexual, he was in a homosexual relationship in Nigeria, for which Boko Haram targeted him and told him he was ‘going to be killed’.
Ms Fordham said: ‘On one occasion he was badly beaten and tortured and there are documents and photographs to back that up. There is no question as to whether his account was credible.’