An IT expert's sophisticated £250,000 online scam was uncovered when an unsuspecting Sutton man received four pieces of gold bullion in the post.
Joseph Onoriode Ogbogbor, 29, was jailed for five years at Croydon Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud Santander bank, money laundering and using another passport to leave the country.
His wife, 26-year-old Ayotunde Akinwolemiwa, also faces jail after she admitted contempt of court and breaching global restraining orders. She will be sentenced on May 16.
Nigerian national Ogbogbor, of Lea Bridge Road in north London, funded a lavish lifestyle featuring designer clothes, Gucci shoes and expensive cars using a scam that cost some victims their life savings.
He electronically withdrew large sums of money - up to £50,000 - from long-term high interest accounts at the bank Cahoot, owned by Santander, over two years up to April 2012.
The money was used to make online purchases of gold bullion, foreign currency, expensive jewellery and designer clothes that were sent via Royal Mail to safehouses in south London - including one in Sutton.
Ogbogbor also ordered credit and debit cards attached to the accounts he hacked that he used to make large withdrawals until each card was blocked.
The scam allowed him to live the high life but everything unravelled when an error meant four gold bars were delivered a man in Tull Street in June 2011.
The man promptly sold the gold, which was valued at £4,900, for just £1,500.
Days later, he was forced to call police after a group of men arrived at his house demanding the gold or its value in cash.
The subsequent investigation, headed by Detective Sergeant Andrew Wickens of Sutton CID, led officers Ogbogbor and Akinwolemiwa in April 2012.
Analysis of computers at the couple's studio flat uncovered bank customers security details and evidence of 'phishing' emails purporting to be from people's banks requesting details.
After his arrest Ogbogbor used someone else's passport to make a trip to Canada.
As part of bail restrictions, Akinwolemiwa was banned from using bank accounts and restricted to a weekly allowance. However, within two months she had opened four accounts with Natwest and transferred money from a Santander account to a Natwest account.
Judge Daniel Flahive described the scam as "sophisticated" and described Ogbogbor as being cynical in the way in which he was willing to exploit his wife, bring suspicion on people who were not part of his scam and steal people's life savings.
UPDATE: Ayotunde Akinwolemiwa was sentenced on May 16 at Croydon Crown Court by way of a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £400 costs.
- 'World-class' London Cancer Hub moves a step closer as councillors approve provisional plans
- National Front campaigner from Sutton to contest seat of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox
- Sadiq Khan 'forced out Met commissioner in show of power,' claims London Assembly member in sensational attack on Mayor
- REVEALED: Where does your London borough rank on the happiness scale?
- Tube chat falls flat: Londoners unimpressed by badge campaign to get people talking to each other on public transport