Sydney, Australia : A 43-year-old Nigerian man identified as Fisayo Oluwafemi has been arrested and charged with masterminding a $3 million email fraud scam from inside a detention centre. He allegedly ran the operation from inside Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre. Three other Africans have been charged as part of the criminal fraud scam. Businesses are being urged to review their payment practices to avoid con
Fisayo Oluwafemi allegedly ran the con from inside Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre, where police seized 16 mobile phones, numerous SIM cards, identification information, and various electronic storage devices on Thursday.
The 43-year-old is allegedly the ring leader of a crime ring that targeted not only businesses, but women looking for love, police claim.
Under the alleged scam, emails were sent out from falsified or ‘spoofed’ email addresses encouraging recipients to reveal personal details such as credit card numbers, account names and passwords, officers said.
The emails also allegedly urged people to send money in exchange for love or goods.
On Thursday, Mr Oluwafemi was taken to Bankstown Police Station after Strike Force Woolana investigators, assisted by Australian Border Force, searched the Villawood detention centre.
Strike Force Woolana was established to investigate organised criminal syndicates involved in fraudulent activities.
Mr Oluwafemi was then charged with knowingly directing activities of criminal group, two counts of knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime, and possessing identity info to commit indictable offence.
Police will allege in court he directed the scam and the group, which allegedly included two women and one man, all of African descent.
The funds were allegedly sent to Nigeria.
Mr Oluwafemi was refused bail and is due to appear in Bankstown local court on Friday.
Harriette Bangura, 36, who is accused of working with Mr Oluwafemi, was arrested by the strike force on September 4.
She has been charged with 11 counts of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
Search warrants were executed for the Kingswood mother’s property in Sydney’s west and a Hoxton Park storage unit where police seized computers, electronic storage devices, mobile phones, sim cards, and documentation.
The woman’s Land Rover was also seized from a car park at St Mary’s, which police believe was purchased with criminal proceeds.
Ms Bangura was granted strict conditional bail to reappear at Downing Centre Local Court on November 1.
Police will allege in court she was involved in the laundering of more than $480,000 under Oluwafemi’s alleged scam racket.
The strike force also raided homes in Chester Hill and Granville, in Sydney’s west.
Police seized computers, mobile phones, SIM cards, methamphetamine and identity and financial documents – all believed to have been stolen.
The raids led to the arrest of a man and woman on September 5, both 20, at the Chester Hill property.
The pair are accused of working with Mr Oluwafemi.
The 20-year-old man was charged with seven counts of recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime, possess identity information with intent to commit an indictable offence and possess drug implement.
Police attest he was involved in the syndicate and laundered $90,000.
Police allege the 20-year-old woman laundered $17,000 fraudulently under Oluwafemi’s alleged scam racket.
She was charged with knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The 20-year-olds were granted strict conditional bail and are due to appear at Parramatta Local Court on October 2.
A third woman, 36, was also arrested at the Granville property for drug related offences. She is due to appear at Parramatta Local Court on October 2.
The investigation is ongoing.
Reports of online fraud can be made to the Police Assistance Line.