Saheed Oyeneye, 35, Rasaq Omotunde, 38, and Oluwakemi Adesaogun, 38, all from south east London, set up hundreds of bogus online HMRC accounts to ‘get rich quick’ off the public purse. The Nigerian-born adopted false identities of hundreds of unsuspecting victims, mirroring the tactic employed by the assassin in The Day of the Jackal, as part of his plot to shoot French president Charles de Gaulle. They also adopted the identities of sports personalities, including cricketers and rugby union stars, by scouring the internet for their personal details and cobbling together a fake profile.
The three men also targeted thousands of members of the public as they attempted to swindle £1m, Southwark Crown Court was told. In total, the gang managed to pocket around £250,000, which was banked across hundreds of accounts which had been set up under false names. But the trio were rumbled early on by HMRC and did not pay out more than three-quarters of the money.
When their homes were searched, investigators discovered the personal details of more than 200 dead children were stored on computers, the court heard. Oyeneye, from Hither Green, Omotunde, from Sydenham and Adesaogun, from Woolwich, all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud.
Today, Judge Stephen Robbins jailed Oyeneye for five and a half years, Omotunde for six years and Adesaogun for five years.