A married couple from Dagenham suspected of being involved in a plot to fraudulently claim £10.2millon in tax credits are believed to have fled to Nigeria.
Oluwagbenga Odeyemi, 39, who is known as Stephen and Gbenga, and his wife Oluwatumininu Banjo, 40, who also uses the pseudonyms Tumi and Charmaine Davis, are being hunted by police in connection with the fraud.
Investigators from Her Majesty Customs and Revenue (HMRC) have today released details about the pair following the sentencing of four people for their involvement in the scam.
The Old Bailey heard Adedamola Oyebode, 30, stole the personal details of 10,300 members at the Civic Service Sports Council where she worked.
The 30-year-old gave the information to her brother-in-law Oluwatobi Odeyemi who spearheaded the multi-million scam by managing the details.
Odeyemi’s friend Kayode Sanni, 39, ensured the details were used to apply for tax credits and his friend Chantell Gumbs, 34, requested the application packs from the HMRC.
The gang completed the forms which included the details of bank accounts set up specifically for the fraud.
The swindle was unravelled after suspicious HMRC officers noticed a surge in the number of new claims from civil servants so launched an investigation in April 2010.
Through meticulous probing the gang’s scam was uncovered after officers analysed vast amounts of information that included tax credit records, phone calls to helplines, banding data, emails and telephone records.
Out of the 10,300 identities stolen, 2,504 were used to make claims that pocketed the gang £2.4m.
Had the fraud continued they would have received a further £7.8m.
Yesterday Oyebode, from Lewisham, was given a two year suspended jail sentence, community service and a three month curfew.
Odeyemi, from Gravesemd, Kent, was jailed for three-and-a-half years, Sanni, from Leeds, was handed down a five years and three months prison term and Gumbs, who is also from Leeds, was given a suspended jail sentence and a rehabilitation order.
Simon York, director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “We ask anyone who has information about Oluwagbenga Odeyemi and Oluwatumininu Banjo to call the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”