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Loughton and Buckhurst Hill gang convicted for £10m fraud

A group of fraudsters, including people from Loughton and Buckhurst Hill, have been convicted for stealing more than £10 million.

The gang, led by Bonaventure Chukwuka, 41, of Roding Gardens, used hacking software and malware to gain access to the email accounts of businesses and individuals.

228 separate frauds were identified as having been carried out between 2014 and 2018.

The total amount of money stolen was £10,112,312.54, according to investigators from the Metropolitan Police’s Falcon Fraud Squad.

11 people were convicted following a six-month trial at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Many of the victims have been unable to recover their losses, with a small construction company in south west England being defrauded out of nearly £13,000. It has since had to close as a result.

DC Chris Collins said: “This has been an exceptionally long trial and the convictions mark the end of a complex, protracted investigation carried out by the Met’s Falcon Fraud Squad.

“The evidence amassed by detectives and presented during the trial was comprehensive and pointed towards a large-scale, planned fraud operation where successful businesses and wealthy individuals were targeted and deceived by a convincing fraud which involved payments arranged between two parties being successfully diverted by this gang.

“I hope this conviction sends a strong message to online fraudsters: even though you think you are committing fraud at your keyboard in privacy, we have the ways and means of tracing you and we will seek to bring you to justice.”

Officers will now begin confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to try and recover the money stolen.

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