Mortgage fraud pair ordered to pay back total of £950,000 in London, England

Two out of five people who were convicted of a large scale mortgage fraud have been ordered to pay back a total of £950,000 during a confiscation hearing held last week.

Anthonia Akinyele, who pleaded guilty to her part in the false mortgage scam was convicted on 13 April and was sentenced to four years in prison at Southwark Crown Court.

Ruth Ayinde-Azeez and three men were sentenced for their involvement on 23 March, and in total the five fraudsters were told they would spend 19 years in prison.

Financial enquiries conducted by the London Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) revealed that Anthonia Akinyele and Ruth Ayinde-Azeez, made over £12million during the six week fraud.

They conducted their lucrative fraud by targeting a number of properties across the UK, providing false mortgage applications for them, using the loans to fund luxurious lifestyles and laundering the proceeds abroad.

Former part-time care worker, Ayinde-Azeez, claimed she knew nothing o f the fraud but was found guilty of money laundering offences on the 10 March.

Ayindee-Azeez was living an opulent lifestyle with the proceeds of the fraud. She was in the process of buying a five-bedroom house in Hertfordshire worth £2.1million and had already put down a £100,000 cash deposit on it.

The house was kitted out with 13 flat screen televisions, expensive ‘Bang and Olufson’ home entertainment systems and a home gym and sauna. She owned high value cars such as a Bentley CTC and a Land Rover Discovery worth in total £190,000 and frequently stayed at top hotels in luxurious locations around the world. Police seized some of these items under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Following a proactive, intelligence-led operation by the MPS Fraud Squad in 2007, with assistance from Hertfordshire Constabulary, officers discovered that Ayinde-Azeez was involved in the scam.

She received payments of over £1.5million into her bank account which she sent to various associates in Dubai and she also owned a 20% share in a brokerage business that played a significant role in the fraud.

The brokerage business, named M Solutions and Financial Ltd, passed false mortgage applications to a solicitors firm and once the mortgage was approved by a financial body, the money would be sent to the solicitors client account and then on to two business accounts controlled by Akinyele and another defendant.

Their businesses, ‘Isaac and Isaacs’ and ‘Zikkito’, have now been dissolved and financial enquiries revealed that over £6million went through the accounts during the six-week fraud.

Akinyele dispersed the money to all those involved in the fraud either to be laundered abroad for further use in their scam or as payment for their criminal work.

Akinyele was arrested at her home address in Chatham, Kent in February 2008.

Police arrived at Ayinde-Azeez’s home address, Sandlewood Close, Barnet, Hertfordshire on 15 May 2008.

She was found attempting to make a quick getaway to France with her car loaded up with possessions. She was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and transferring money out of the UK and was charged the following day.

The other three defendants pleaded guilty to various money laundering offences and conspiracy to defraud charges at earlier hearings. They too will face future confiscation proceedings.

Detective Constable Terry Lambert who conducted the Fraud Squad investigation said: "This was a meticulously planned fraud with involvement from a number of different criminals using seemingly legitimate businesses to launder huge amounts of money in a very short space of time.

"There is no doubt that these companies never saw genuine business profit and were only set up to facilitate this scam.

Detective constable Jacqueline Vassell from London RART, who led the financial investigation, said: “This has been a successful operation where both the criminal and confiscation investigation bore fruitful results. London RART are dedicated to disrupting enablers of financial crime. Using our POCA powers to take away these assets and giving the money back to the public purse, will go a long way in reinforcing the message that crime doesn’t pay. We can revisit the financial situations of these fraudsters at any stage of their lives to recuperate the money that they made from their crimes.”

Defendant’s details:

Anthonia Akinyele, aged 35, of Wittersham Close, Chatham, Kent pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to four years in prison. She was handed four-year sentences for each of her three money laundering charges – the sentences are due to run concurrently. She was ordered to pay back £545,870.

Ruth Ayinde-Azeez, aged 26, of Sandlewood Close, Barnet, Hertfordshire was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to acquire, use or have criminal property and one count of removing criminal property. She was sentenced to four years in prison. She was ordered to pay back £405,565.

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