Fraudster jailed over £660k invoice fraud

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A man who helped fake signatures from the CEO of a foreign exchange company based in the City of London has been jailed for six and a half years

Olamide Odulele of Southend was sentenced after being found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud and four counts of fraud by false representation relating to the purchase of high end goods, as well as trying to take out a loan and credit cards under a fake name.

In September 2017, City of London Police were contacted by NEX Group plc following the discovery that 29 fake invoices had been received and processed through their accounts department between 21 July and 25 August 2017.

The total value of the 29 invoices was £668,924.80, however upon discovering the fraud, eight invoices were stopped before payment. NEX was also able to recover £116,892.02 from the banks. The final total loss was calculated as £364,740.50 from the 21 invoices that were paid into 20 separate bank accounts.

All of the fake invoices had been received as attachments within e-mails that were purportedly sent from the personal assistant of the CEO, which were received in the shared email inbox within the accounts department at NEX. Evidence was found that directly linked the name Olamide Odulele as the author of the invoices.

The company conducted an internal investigation and discovered that all of the fake invoices were processed instantly by a member of the finance team, Shazeb Iqbal. This was flagged as suspicious as most invoices were not usually processed until hours, or even days, after being received.

The invoices were identified as fake as none of the companies requesting funds were legitimate. In addition, each of the invoices had what appeared to be the CEO’s signature authorising payment, which it was then confirmed, the CEO had not signed.

Further evidence was found that linked Odulele to the fraudulent opening of bank accounts in the fake name of Dr Aamir Motiwala, which were also used as recipient accounts for NEX funds. A further account was also opened in the name of the doctor and was used to launder funds, some of which were transferred directly to Odulele or accounts suspected to be under his control.

During the investigation, it was also discovered that Odulele opened further accounts under fake names to secure credit cards, loans and store accounts totalling £13,482.42.

Detective chief inspector Lee Parish, from the fraud operations team at City of London Police, said: ‘The sentence should serve as a reminder that fraud will not be tolerated in the City of London and that however clever you think you are being, there will always be repercussions.

‘Odulele demonstrated a clear lack of responsibility for his actions and he, together with Shazeb Iqbal, thought they could outsmart the banks and the authorities.’

Iqbal previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and in August 2021, was sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment.

If you have questions about dealing with misconduct, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like Can I sack an employee for swearing at management?

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