December 20, 2022

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High-ranking members of West African crime gang jailed for fraud

Among the evidence, gardaí found Boboye had been sent a video of a man being executed by being shot in the head, to which Boboye responded: “True sir, he got what he deserved”.

A high-ranking member of a West African organised crime gang has been jailed for five years for his role in an €800,000 money laundering and fraud operation.

Members of the criminal money laundering operation were caught flushing fraudulent documents down the toilet after hotel staff at the Carlton Hotel in Tyrellstown alerted gardaí to their suspicious activity, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Four men were sentenced for their roles in the criminal enterprise, which the court heard came to light after gardaí were called to the hotel in February 2018.

When gardaí seized the mobile phones of Junior Boboye (28), they uncovered that he was “a high-ranking member of a West African crime group”, which originated in Nigeria but operates internationally, Detective Garda Sean Sheehan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau told the court on Tuesday.

Video of execution

Among the evidence, gardaí found Boboye had been sent a video of a man being executed by being shot in the head, to which Boboye responded: “True sir, he got what he deserved”. This execution happened outside the jurisdiction, but it showed the lengths the criminal organisation was prepared to go to, the court heard.

Boboye, with an address at Castle Park, Ashbourne, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to committing multiple offences for the benefit of a criminal organisation on dates between August 2017 and May 2018 – a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

He also pleaded guilty to 13 counts relating to money laundering and using false instruments during the same period. He has nine previous convictions, mainly for road traffic offences.

Sentencing him on Tuesday, Judge Pauline Codd said Boboye was “an active lieutenant and recruiting sergeant” within the hierarchy of an organised crime group.

The court heard the operation involved the theft of €792,000 from eight businesses using invoice redirect fraud, of which only €319,000 was recovered, mainly through insurance.

Boboye was not involved in the fraudulent emails, which were sent from outside the jurisdiction, but he was “a well-trusted and central cog” in the criminal group, assisting in the dispersing of funds to launder monies and actively recruiting money mules for the use of their bank accounts, the court heard.

Judge Codd said these kinds of operations “undermine the public's trust in online payment systems”.

The court heard Boboye got into university to study computer science but had to drop out due to financial difficulties. He had drug addiction issues and fell out with his family but has since reconciled with them.

Defence counsel Michael Bowman SC said his client made some “disastrous choices”. The court heard Boboye initially got involved as a money mule to make some money for college fees before his accounts were frozen and he got deeper involved with the criminal organisation. There was no evidence he was personally enriched by his involvement in the crime, the court heard.

Taking into account a number of mitigating factors, including Boboye's guilty pleas, remorse and good work history, the judge handed down a sentence of six years with the final year suspended. She backdated it to when he went into custody in March of this year.

Second in command

Emmanuel Olanyian (29) was Boboye's second in command, the court heard. Olanyian, with an address at Liffey Terrace, Lucan, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to 19 counts involving money laundering, using false instruments, deception and forgery. He has a small number of convictions, none of which are relevant, the court heard.

Gardaí found evidence of over 200 messages between Olanyian and Boboye, discussing the various money laundering schemes. Olanyian was not a recruiter for money mules, but he was a “significant spoke in the wheel”, Judge Codd said.

He money laundered funds using his own bank accounts in Ireland and Nigeria. “There was no evidence he was under duress,” the judge said, adding Olanyian was a “significant recruit in the scheme to launder monies”.

Separate from his money laundering activities, Olanyian also pleaded guilty to forging documents and deceiving Dublin County Council by posing as a landlord in order to receive HAP payments over a 10-month period in 2018.

This offending showed he had “a propensity to commit fraud not only against businesses but against the taxpayer”, Judge Codd said.

Olanyian received a total of €3300 in fraudulent HAP payments, which he had in court to pay back as a token of his remorse. The court heard he holds a Masters in Data Analytics and, prior to going into custody in 2021, had a good career with a social media company.

Judge Codd handed down a four-year sentence to Olanyian but suspended the final year, noting his guilty pleas, remorse, his pro-social family background and his educational achievements.

Taiwo Ajike (24) and Onyebuchi Aduba (23) were “money mules” for the operation. Ajike was given a suspended sentence while Aduba was dealt with under the Probation Act, which means he won't get a conviction.

Ajike, with an address at Silverbrook, Mountmellick, Co Laois and Aduba, with an address at Rochfort Crescent, Lucan, Co Dublin, each pleaded guilty to one count of possessing the proceeds of criminal conduct within the State on dates in February 2018. They have no previous convictions.

Ajike was found to have €126,644 of criminal proceeds in his bank account, while Aduba had €19,965 in his.