Man who recruited and trafficked teenage girls arrested in Ilford
- Credit: Metropolitan Police
A man who recruited, trafficked and exploited at least 30 girls has pleaded guilty after being arrested in Ilford.
Isaiah Olugosi, 38, led a large-scale operation over several years to commit refund fraud in high street shops.
He used vulnerable teenagers living in foster homes or semi-independent supported accommodation to aid his crimes.
The money gained was then used by his wife Holly Olugosi to buy luxury items including cosmetic surgery, tanning sessions, a new Mercedes, luxury holidays, and a fridge costing £2500.
Tottenham man Baran Karamagara 22, of Lordship Lane, has also pleaded guilty for his role in the operation, alongside Eva Dambrauskaite, 21, of Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill.
The four defendants were tried at Snaresbrook Crown Court and are awaiting sentencing.
Sgt PJ Jones from the Met’s Predatory Offender Unit said that throughout the criminal proceedings, the suspects "did everything they could to conceal evidence, minimise their own involvement and delay justice".
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“Olugosi and others were too cowardly to execute their own crimes, and actively recruited girls with obvious vulnerabilities," Sgt Jones said.
Marie Olo, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) added: "The girls were selected because they were vulnerable with difficult backgrounds or mental health problems, and when they were caught, [Olugosi] was perfectly willing to step back and let them face arrest and potential prosecution."
The court heard that between January 2018 and March 2020, Olugosi began targeting two retailers using fraudulent receipts and printed barcodes produced at his home.
Bank data shows proceeds of crime entering the accounts as far back as 2013. By March 2020, the group had made around £500,000 in profits.
Olugosi appointed ‘team leaders’ Dambrauskaite and Karamagara to recruit and manage the girls, typically aged 14-17 years old, who carried out theft and fraud on behalf of the organised crime group.
Over 30 victims were recruited via social media platforms and approached on the street, mainly from Greater London and Essex.
The girls would often be missing for several days, committing fraud by day and being housed in hotels each night.
A typical day would include theft and fraud from over ten stores, making thousands of pounds per ‘route’ for the gang.
The funds were then laundered through at least 100 UK bank accounts, often taken over from children or adults with mental health problems and other vulnerabilities.
In March 2020, the Met’s Predatory Offender Unit helped execute search warrants in London, Essex and Cambridge where they seized evidence including printers, computer equipment, fake receipts, bar codes, cash and devices used to communicate with the girls.
Police said Holly Olugosi attempted to conceal several pieces of evidence when her home was searched.
On May 20 last year, Isaiah Olugosi of Lower Road, Ely, Cambridgeshire, admitted conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of children for the purposes of exploitation at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud; concealing/converting/transferring criminal property (money laundering) and possession of articles for use in fraud.
Holly Olugosi, of the same address, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to concealing/converting/transferring criminal property (money laundering).
Yesterday - February 10 - Eva Dambrauskaite, 21, of Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill, was found guilty of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of children for the purposes of exploitation and two counts of conspiracy to defraud.
She was also found guilty of concealing/converting/transferring criminal property (money laundering), possession of articles for use in fraud, and possession of cannabis.
On December 17 last year, Baran Karamagara, 22, of Lordship Lane, Tottenham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of children for the purposes of exploitation and two counts of conspiracy to defraud.