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Nigerian Identity theft pair jailed for frauds

Posted by Lucy Harvey - Yorkshire Post on 2005/07/15 | Views: 2985 |

Nigerian Identity theft pair jailed for frauds


TWO "highly intelligent" Nigerians studying at Yorkshire universities have been jailed for their part in an elaborate identity fraud.

* Students part of call centre conspiracy

TWO "highly intelligent" Nigerians studying at Yorkshire universities have been jailed for their part in an elaborate identity fraud.

Babajide Salvador, 22, a former Leeds University student, and Soliat Kosoko, a 20-year-old woman studying chemical engineering at Sheffield University, used stolen identities to obtain credit cards, bank accounts and luxury goods in a complex conspiracy.

Judge Robert Moore jailed Salvador for four years, and Kosoko for two years at Sheffield Crown Court, and recommended they both be deported from Britain when their jail terms end.

The court heard how the pair were part of a larger operation involving others, not yet traced, who accessed personal and financial details through working at call centres.

Salvador admitted working as a "foot soldier" in the scam, and "cajoled" his girlfriend, Kosoko, into helping him. Between them the pair obtained at least 22,000 in cash and goods, but attempted to make more than 100,000.

Salvador used Leeds University computers to apply for loans, credit cards and bank accounts on the Internet using several different names at three different addresses a flat at Elmwood Lane, Barwick-in-Elmet, Leeds, which he rented using a false name; Kosoko's former flat at Headford Mews, Sheffield city centre; and a flat they shared at Sheffield's luxury West One complex, which Salvador also rented using a false name.

As well as gaining credit and cash facilities he ordered expensive goods from Internet companies using false names

Salvador and Kosoko would also telephone banks and credit companies claiming to be an existing customer, change the listed address to one of the three properties they had access to, and weeks later ask for a new card to be sent out.

After Kosoko fraudulently obtained a House of Fraser store card, the pair went on a spending spree at the Meadowhall branch spending almost 4,000 on clothes, sound systems, televisions and a suitcase.

Their crimes were only discovered when Peter Weston, the concierge at West One flats complex, noticed their flat's mailbox full of letters addressed to several different people and alerted police.

Kosoko was arrested and detectives found a mobile phone, widescreen TV, DVD player, Sky digibox and women's clothing from House of Fraser at her new flat at Broomhall Street, Sheffield.

She quickly admitted her role, saying she acted on Salvador's instructions.
Salvador, who was dismissed from Leeds University for cheating and moved on to study architecture at Huddersfield University, was arrested as he tried to board a plane to Nigeria.

He initially lied to police and blamed another man for the fraud. He said he was just friends with Kosoko.

His hand luggage, bought in the House of Fraser shopping spree, contained a fraudulent bank card, watches worth around 5,000, two mobile phones, men's clothes and university notebooks containing several names, bank details, car registration numbers and a forged gas bill.

Last month both defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud between November 2003 and December 2004.

Defence barrister David Baird said Salvador's involvement coincided with the death of his father and said: "He is feeling extremely ashamed that his parents spent a great deal of money putting him through education in this country and he feels he has betrayed them."

Mr Baird also said Salvador's cousin was killed in the terrorist bombings last week although the court was given no evidence to support this claim.
Salvador, who has been in custody for seven months, planned to finish his degree course in Huddersfield, and remain in the UK.

Defending Kosoko, Simon Batiste said she was of "outstanding educational ability" but was "naive and impressionable" and carried out the fraud because she was "in love with her co-accused". He said: "She became swept up in what her boyfriend and lover was doing."

Mr Batiste said Kosoko was due to start a masters degree course at Brunel University in September and on completion planned to return to Nigeria to support her large family who are "incredibly proud of her" and know nothing of her crimes.

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Comments (6)

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding