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Fraudsters jailed for stealing 600,000 from Aviva directors

Three conmen who defrauded five Aviva directors out of hundreds of thousands of pounds have been jailed at Southwark Crown Court.

Gideon Komolafe, aged 36, and Simon Kogoro, 40, were sentenced to four-and-a-half years last week and, the following day, 39-year-old Wilton Clarke was given 18 months. They had previously been found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud. Komolafe and Kogoro were also jailed for an additional year for committing a similar fraud against a high-street bank.

The court heard how in 2006 the fraudsters used personal information available from Companies Houses to trick UK and Indian call-centre operators into handing over Aviva account numbers for the directors’ life insurance policies.

The fraudsters, who are all from Woolwich, South-east London, used this information to cash in the policies and transfer 638,000 into fraudulent bank accounts set up in the directors’ names.

The money was moved into business accounts registered in Kogoro’s and Clarke’s names and finally transferred into their personal accounts.

At this point, Aviva’s security measures alerted them to the fraud and the insurance group launched an investigation. They later called in the City of London Police and officers uncovered the chain of bank accounts that led back to the fraudsters.

After arresting Komolafe in July 2007, officers searched his home and uncovered evidence that he and Kogoro had committed a similar crime against a customer of a high-street bank.

Documents showed the two men had targeted some of the banks’ high-value customers. A fraudulent account had been set up in a customer’s name and 150,000 was transferred from another customer’s account.

But due to bank security policies, this transfer was picked up and the money was returned.

City of London Police economic crime directorate detective constable Jeffrey Gettings says: “The prison sentences handed to these three men should be a serious warning to others.”

Aviva declined to reveal the identities of the directors affected by the fraud.

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