May 24 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Accountant, Sergius Ene, 44, of Rushden Gardens, Clayhall, layered multiple bank accounts to hide the money, which came from people duped into believing they had won a lottery prize or were due an inheritance.
Ene, who received 16 months in March for a £27,000 ‘Euromilions’ lottery scam on a Northampton pensioner, pleaded guilty to conspiring to convert criminal property between October 2008 and September last year.
The father-of-three and a former Haringey Council housing benefit officer, is currently appealing deportation.
Croydon Crown Court was told Ene, whose children are aged 11, 12 and 14, is suffering from depression.
The police have successfully frozen bank accounts controlled by Ene containing £140,000.
Fellow-Nigerians, Obinnam Nwokolo, 37, and Uchechhukwu Onuoha, 40, both from Erith, were also jailed after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud over the same dates.
One of their victims, Betty McClellan, 62, of Hyde Park, Los Angeles was shot dead by her husband Hersey McClellan, 63, who then shot himself in June 2010, after she wired £264,000 to the fraudsters.
Ene laundered the McClellan couple’s money through one of many personal and business accounts he controlled
“Monies were placed in a series of bank accounts and laundered,” said prosecutor Andrew Evans. “The fraud was carried out on an international scale.”
Mrs McClellan was convinced she had won $2.8million on the Australian lottery and sent the money to cover taxes and admin costs to release the win.
“When her husband discovered she had lost all of their pension savings he shot her dead and then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide,” added Mr Evans.
“It is difficult to think of a larger advance free fraud than this,” said Judge Jeremy Gold QC.
“Thousands of emails and letters were sent out across the world promising money from non-existent relatives from inheritances or non-existence lottery wins.
“I regard this fraud as one that falls into the most serious category of advanced fee fraud, targeting vulnerable victims.”
Police swooped on the homeless, grabbing sleeping bags and food parcels donated by the public, in co-ordinated raids around the borough.