Three Eastbourne-based fraudsters to start repaying money to victims
Three people already convicted and sentenced for a systematic Eastbourne-based fraud have now been given court orders requiring them to start paying back the proceeds of their crime to five victims.
Following an investigation by Sussex Police financial experts, Orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) were issued at Lewes Crown Court against all three on 30 September.
Sogo Fasoyrio, 40, of Chandlers Drive, Bexley, Kent, was found to have benefited from crime to the amount of £17,596.56 and currently had £8,939.31 available to repay.
Clive Theobald, 55, of Coffee Hall, Milton Keynes, was found to have benefited by £80,652.72 and had £13,055.34 currently available to repay
Tolulope Ajetunmobi, 37, of Marchwood Close, London SE5, was found to have benefited by £21,515.45 and had £1,549.52 currently available to repay.
Each has three months to pay, and will serve extra terms if they fail to do so (Fasoyrio five months, Theobald six months and Ajetunmobi 28 days), and will still have to pay
All three had been sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on 9 April for their roles in an email-based 'mandate' fraud that diverted more than £60,000 from businesses and private individuals into an Eastbourne-based bank account.
Theobald was sentenced to 26 months for seven offences of transferring or possessing criminal property, Ajetunmobi was sentenced to 18 months for two such offences, and Fasoyiro was given a one-year sentence suspended for two years, plus 150 hours unpaid work, for five such offences. He was also found not guilty of three other such charges.
Detective Constable Fleur Jones of the Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit said: "We identified six incidents in which people had been defrauded or almost defrauded by these defendants.
"One was a firm of builders in East Sussex who lost £7,908, meant to be the payment of building repairs that they had completed to a block of flats. A second was a man in London who lost £59, 595 supposed to be the deposit for the purchase of his new home. A Surrey man lost £1,000 meant to be the deposit for the rent of a flat, an Eastbourne sports club lost £2,370 meant to be the payment of an invoice.
"A Sussex man almost lost £7,000 meant to be the payment of a landscaping invoice but he realised just in time that the bank account details so made a phone call to the genuine company to double check their bank details. A Hungarian company almost lost £12,639.18 meant to be the payment of an invoice but this payment was held in the bank account that the defendants had access to by the bank who by then had been alerted to the unusual amount of money coming into and out of the account.
"They will now receive payments in compensation."
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Richardson of the Surrey and Sussex Economic Crime Unit said; "Funds seized by the courts through POCA confiscation or cash forfeiture orders can go to the central Government exchequer, and a proportion of the centrally seized funds is then returned to law enforcement, CPS and the court system - if they are not paid in compensation to specific victims, as will be done with funds being recovered in this case.
"The court found that this trio had benefited by amounts greater than those they are currently required to repay. However it is important to understand that we keep records of all existing confiscation orders where the full benefit amount isn’t immediately available and regularly check to identify any additional assets which have been obtained since the original order was made.
"We can then apply to the court for an increase in the original order. We can also seek the help of the South East Regional Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) team, part of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) who will check on the offenders to help identify more assets.
"Meanwhile, even orders such as those just granted still send the important message that we will always go after criminal assets even beyond conviction, to try to return them lawful and useful purposes."
Mandate fraud involves a company or individual being tricked into changing details of a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer by criminals pretending to be an organisation to whom regular payments are made, typically a business supplier or a subscription. It’s a simple but effective fraud which is used a lot and can involve the loss of a huge amount of money.
For more information and advice about preventing mandate fraud see the Sussex Police website.
Eastbourne stabbing suspects released
An 18-year-old man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following a stabbing in Cambridge Road, Eastbourne, on Thursday afternoon (3 October) has been released on conditional police bail until 31 October.
A 16-year-old girl also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the same incident has been released under investigation.
The victim in the incident, an 18-year-old local man, continues to receive medical treatment for his injuries.
An appeal for witnesses to the stabbing continues, and anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police online or by phoning 101, quoting Operation Redvale.
Alternatively it is possible to contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Rural Crime Awareness Week
This week we have been raising awareness around rural crime. Rural crime is an issue for large areas of the country but tends to go unreported.
It can be difficult to know whether something is a crime and whether to report it to the police or another charity or organisation.
What is Rural Crime?
Rural crime tends to fall into one of four categories:
It can also fall under environmental crime, which covers illegal waste dumping, fly tipping, polluting watercourses and land.
For more information go to: https://www.sussex.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rc/rural-crime/what-is-rural-crime/
Officers seeking wanted Eastbourne man are happy to be fobbed off
Wanted on recall to prison, James French, 31, of no fixed address, took to posting short videos on social media, taunting police about his evasion of the law.
His chosen sound track for the clips on Instagram was "I Want To Break Free" by the rock band, Queen.
French had been released on licence from Rochester prison on 9 September, where he had been serving a 10-month sentence for motoring offences imposed in March this year.
But the licence was revoked on 24 September and unfortunately for French he made a crucial error in one of his boastful selfies.
Officers watching them spotted a large key fob which clearly showed the name of a hotel and a room number where French had been hiding.
Members of the East Sussex prevention enforcement team dropped by, and despite Don't Stop Me Now protests from French, arrested him and put him back behind bars.
Inspector Mark Rosser said: "It was great work by the team, whose patience paid off when they ended his dream of breaking free. I suppose you could say it was a case of Another One Bites The Dust. "
French, whose failure to keep key appointments with a supervisor as part of the conditions for his early release, was returned to the prison authorities.
There are no burglaries of note in this weeks update. Help us keep Sussex safe
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Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
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