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Fraudster who pretended to be a diamond supplier, stealing almost £160,000 which he spent on Rolex watches - told he has to pay it all back - or spend more time in jail.
Babatunde Giwa (21/01/1978) of Lorton Close, Manchester (currently imprisoned) was found guilty by jury of Fraud and Money Laundering offences at Manchester Crown Square Court back in May 2019, and was sentenced to four and a half years in jail.
Giwa was involved in an email scam with other unknown fraudsters, which convinced a West Yorkshire-based wholesale jewellery company, Pugata Ltd to transfer £159,974.87 to a bank account controlled by him.
Pugata Ltd had been arranging the sale of diamonds with Deblinger Diamonds with whom they had a long-standing relationship, when their email chain was intercepted by the scammers. Using an email address with only one letter difference from the legitimate Deblinger email address, the scammers convinced Pugata Ltd. that Deblinger were having bank problems, and to pay money into a different account, later found to be those opened by Giwa.
The alarm was raised three weeks later, when Deblinger contacted Pugata Ltd, requesting payment, and the fraud was reported.
Police Investigators also found just three days after the money was sent to the account held by Giwa, he purchased four Rolex watches, three worth
£8,950 and one worth £5,000. One was returned a week later, and the money refunded. The rest of the money was transferred into other accounts.
Giwa has 3 months to pay back £176,622.40 or face an additional 2 years in jail.
Financial Investigations Manager Ben Evans, from the Economic and Cyber Crime Section at GMP said: "We're pleased with today's ruling - and hopefully this sends a powerful message to fraudsters, that criminal actions do have severe consequences.
"While Giwa is already in prison, and facing the prospect of a longer sentence if the money is not returned, ensuring any criminal gains are not available to him upon release really drives home the message that not only will we do everything in our power to secure a conviction for these types of crimes, but you will have to pay it back.
"He was part of a sophisticated scam, that caused a significant amount of distress for those involved. These are not victimless crimes. I would like to thank the victim in this case for their patience and I hope this result brings to close a difficult period for them.
"While we are pleased with today's result, we are aware that fighting fraud is a relentless task. We will continue to work diligently to remove criminal proceeds from the hands of those who seek to profit from criminality, and I'd like to thank the public for continuing to support our work by reporting fraud, and sharing information. If you see something, or suspect something is wrong, tell us, and we can do something about it."
Anyone with any information can contact police via LiveChat on our website www.gmp.police.uk or call 101, or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.