Firms urged to be alert to mandate fraud risk

Two criminals who tricked law firms into sending them money have been sentenced to a cumulative 6 years in jail.

Masquerading as finance directors, Okwudili Chinze and Ahmed Oten conspired to send emails requesting that funds should be sent to renewed bank details.

In addition to law firms, other businesses and organisations are believed to have been targeted by the pair, with stolen money thought to amount to £300,000.

Having previously admitted to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, Chinze was also found guilty of money laundering at the hearing last week, where he was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail.

Whilst Otun was found guilty of the same offences, he faces four years in prison.

Firms are now being urged to stay alert to receiving any kind of correspondence which requests a change of account or bank details, whether this from a consumer or an organisation that they regularly make payments to.

Commenting on the case and reminding firms to verify change requests was Matt Wigg. The acting detective sergeant from the Met Police’s fraud team stated: ‘Many of the victims linked to this case were tricked into sending money to criminals’ accounts after they were sent a spoof email with a change of payment details.

‘Always verify changes to financial arrangements with the organisation or person directly on the phone, or go via the company’s main switchboard to check if an email is genuine. Never reveal bank account details via email or on unsecured networks.’

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