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Thursday, 23 July 2009

Gang of Illegal Immigrants in £80,000 Benefit Fraud

From The Express & Star:

A gang made more than £80,000 in less than six months in a massive benefits racket targeting West Midland and Staffordshire post offices.

They used dozens of giro cheques stolen by others from Royal Mail sorting offices in London that were each cashed for around £300. The scam was organised by Congolese asylum-seekers who recruited local “droppers” to cash the bent giros at more than 20 post offices throughout the Black Country and Staffordshire as part of a nationwide multi-million pound fraud.

The names of the people to whom the cheques were made payable were altered to match those on stolen bank cards used to ‘confirm’ the identity of the person cashing the benefit payout.

Small purchases were made at each selected post office to get a receipt that revealed the identification code of the branch that could then be forged onto the stolen cheque before it was cashed there. Scores of giros stolen from London sorting offices in the 12 months up to March this year have been used in frauds in the West Midlands and Scotland.

Congo-born Sami Bushabu, 35, from Kipling Road, Bushbury, Wolverhampton, targeted the post offices and recruited the “droppers” who were driven to the locations, given the cheques and paid £50 for each one they cashed. He was sent to prison for 27 months yesterday and also faces deportation on release.

Prosecutor Mr Nicholas Cole told Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday: “This was a sophisticated fraud involving the cashing of benefit giros stolen from the postal system in the London area. The loss on this occasion is estimated at over £80,000.”

Simba Made, 29, of no fixed address, who has been trying to win asylum since arriving in 2001 from the Congo, was a key figure in the West Midland operation.

He was arrested getting off a tram in Birmingham with five mobile phones. There were three more and a DIY forgers kit at a flat he used in Darlaston along with counterfeit and stolen bank cards.

He confessed that he knew the men behind the racket but refused to name them and also declined to give passwords needed to unlock his phones. He was jailed for 39 months and is then expected to be deported.

Three of those who cashed cheques were jailed for between 10 and six months while four others received community orders. All the defendants had admitted conspiracy to defraud.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NO Deportation???