The mastermind behind a £3million Wonga scam which used the identities of thousands of innocent members of the public to withdraw cash has been jailed for six years.
Kelvin Okusanya, 32, was part of a gang which exploited the company’s website algorithms to make more than 19,000 loan applications from April 2012 to June 2013 using the same password ‘Bengali90’.
The cash was then laundered through hundreds of bank accounts by the fraudsters while the unsuspecting victims were left facing paying the one per cent a day interest payments.
Okusanya was convicted of fraud after the Old Bailey heard he personally made 82 false applications involving 30 victims.
The judge, Mr Recorder Sells QC, said: ‘The names and details of wholly innocent members of the public were used to make fraudulent loan applications on a massive scale.
‘Some were even contacted by Wonga for the loans they had not applied for and knew nothing about.
‘Such offences are corrosive of the trust which people hold in the financial services sector. They are increasingly prevalent, they are easy to commit and hard to detect.’
The judge told Okusanya: ‘You were described during the trial as the mastermind and one of the controlling minds of the whole of this fraud.
‘I am satisfied that you were a leading member of a criminal enterprise which intended to get many millions of pounds.’
Nine people are now on trial at the Old Bailey accused of involvement in the suspected scam.
Kelvin Okusanya, 32, allegedly made dozens of the loan applications himself while Olu Fasoranti, 32, Sophia Pusey-Carroll, 46, Maureen Ako, 35, Omotola Wellington, 31, Sherene Bascoe, 21, Michelle Deola, 23, Kerone Clayton, 42, and Clement Bankole, 38, all allegedly allowed the proceeds of the scam to pass through their bank accounts.
Eight others were convicted of laundering the proceeds of the cash through bank accounts under their control.
Prosecutor Richard Hearnden told the court: ‘The criminals netted over £3million by targeting one of Britain’s most controversial institutions, the pay day lender Wonga.
‘Wonga paid out on thousands of payday loans. Each of these loans was only for a few hundred pounds but added together these loans amounted to millions.
‘The fraud came about by stealing the names, dates of birth, addresses, email addresses, mobile phone numbers and debit card numbers of literally thousands of ordinary members of the public.
‘The fraudsters that were operating this scam probably bought ready-made lists of potential victims and their personal financial data. How precisely this data was secured is not known.’
The trial focused on 30 victims but this was ‘the smallest tip of a very substantial iceberg’ according to Mr Hearnden.
Applications were made online by entering names, addresses and dates of birth together with the debit card number used to make repayments and the details of the account receiving the cash.
Wonga uses an algorithm to determine whether the information provided is correct and whether the account number matches the name and other details of the person applying for the loan.
Mr Hearnden said: ‘It would appear that this algorithm failed.
‘The result was as many as 19,000 fraudulent applications were successfully processed and paid out.
Source: Daily Mail; The Mirror