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Saturday, 15 August 2009

Ticket Inspector Jailed for Fraud

From This is Croydon Today:

A ticket inspector based at East Croydon train station used the bank details of passengers he had fined to go on a shopping spree.

Emmanuel Odoucha handed out penalties to passengers who did not have a valid ticket.

The 25-year-old then used their personal details to order PlayStations, vacuum cleaners, mobile phones and a juicer.

At Croydon Crown Court, last Thursday, Odoucha was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

The jury took less than an hour to find him guilty of 10 counts of fraud – which he denied.

Judge Heather Baucher told him: "This was a position of trust that you abused. These people handed over their cards in good faith.

"It's almost laughable that you're telling people that they've done something wrong then you're going off and having a fraud frolic."

She added: "If you can't afford to buy these items, you should have saved up and paid for them."

Subhankar Banerjee, prosecuting, said the Southern employee had two out of 10 orders delivered when he tried to spend the passengers' money in May and June last year.

Mr Banerjee claimed that it was a simple spelling mistake that caught out the alleged fraudster.

He is said to have spelt one passenger's name wrong, which triggered suspicion from the credit card company, and led to a British Transport Police investigation.

Mr Banerjee said: "The name given was Miller, not the correct spelling, Millar."

A jury was told Odoucha had been identified as the fraudster as the five people whose card details had been used had all been fined by him.

Odoucha was charged with trying to buy four PlayStation3 consoles, three PlayStation3 games, seven mobile phones, two vacuum cleaners, a juicer, an MP3 player, a USB stick and a PlayStation controller.

The items are said to have been ordered for two addresses, one of which was next door to the house Odoucha said he lived in when BTP officers questioned him in July last year.

When officers investigated, the court heard, they found a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a PlayStation3 and a PlayStation3 controller in his mum's "prayer room".

He claimed someone else must have had access to his penalty fare book and ordered the items.

He was bailed and further police investigations uncovered three telephone recordings of the orders placed by Odoucha of Walford Road, Stoke Newington.

Mr Banerjee said: "When the defendant heard the police had tape recordings, he stayed silent."

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