The British Metropolitan Police have sent an appeal to the public to please help track down a Nigerian crime suspect who eloped as investigation commenced into a big Mortgage fraud.
Victor ayinde-Azeez, 32 has been declared wanted for his role in a £6m Mortgage scam which was committed in 2007.
Already, four other prime suspects of the crime have been sentenced to a total of 15 years in jail for their part in the scam.
Southwark Crown Court heard how one of them, the wife of the run away suspect, Ruth Ayinde-Azeez, a Kenyan national, former part-time care worker lived an extremely expensive life from proceeds of the fraud.
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 imprisonment.
She had earlier claimed she knew nothing about the fraud. She was found guilty of money laundering offences on March 10 this year.
As investigation commenced,Ruth was found attempting to make a quick get-away 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 accordingly the following day.
She was said to have 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 the belongings 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, her involvement in the scam came into the open.
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 made up brokerage business that played a significant role in the fraud.
As their Modus Operandi , 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 solely by Akinyele and Matthews.
The cover-up company named , ‘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.
The team of suspects which include , Isaac Matthews, David Hunter and Jason Mercer conducted their lucrative fraud by targeting a number of properties across the UK, providing false mortgage applications for them and using the loans to fund luxurious lifestyles.
A member of the group, one Anthonia Akinyele who pleaded guilty to her part in the fraud, awaits sentencing.
The other four defendants pleaded guilty to various money laundering offences and conspiracy to defraud charges at earlier hearing.
Akinyele and Matthews dispersed 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.
Matthews was arrested in February 2008 at a Holiday Inn in Dartford and police seized one Rolex watch and one Gucci watch from him under POCA.
Akinyele was arrested at her home address in ChathamKent on the same day.
Police arrived at Ayinde-Azeez’s home address, Sandlewood Close, Barnet, Hertfordshire on 15 May 2008.
Ruth 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.
Mercer and Hunter were puppets in the fraud. Their role was to allow the others to use their details on the mortgage applications and pay the loans off for a couple of months via direct debit.
They then cancelled those direct debits and were paid huge sums of money for their troubles.
They were both arrested at their home addresses by officers from Hertfordshire.
On interview Hunter claimed that his identity had been stolen and he had no involvement. He later changed his story and pleaded guilty realising he had been closed up on investigation.
Detective Constable Terry Lambert from the Economic and Specialist Crime Command 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.
“The luxurious lifestyles they were living shows a complete disregard for the law and it also makes Ayinde-Azeez’s defence that she did not know anything about the laundered money laughable.
“We will now be looking to confiscate any assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act from those convicted.”
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.
Isaac Matthews, aged 42, of Wittersham Close, Chatam, Kent pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering and transferring money out of the UK and was sentenced to six years in prison.
David Hunter, aged 35, of Vauxhall Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.
Jason Mercer, aged 36, of Bronte Crescent, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison.
Anthonia Akinyele, aged 35, of Wittersham Close, Chatam, Kent pleaded guilty to money laundering and has been remanded in custody to await sentencing.
The British Metropolitan Police have sent an appeal to the public to help trace Victor, 32 the master of the group.
Officers from the Fraud Squad want to trace him in connection with this scam enquiry.
Victor Ayinde –Azeez, who also goes about with the name Victor Strong or Victor Davies is thought to be in Nigeria.