A womanising fraudster who hijacked the identities of soldiers and nurses in a £1.3million benefits plot has today been jailed for six years.
Chibuikem Uzoma-Ubani, 29, persuaded several lovers to help him launder the profits from the swindle that targeted tax credits and Sure Start maternity grants.
Denisa Camacho, 28, of Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, and Katrina Papiernikova, 27, of Romford, Essex both had relationships with Uzoma-Ubani, after arriving in the UK from Slovakia and were accused of turning a blind eye to his activities.
Uzoma-Ubani, of Romford, Essex, married Camacho married in 2004, then divorced her and had two children by Papiernikova.
The women both insisted they knew nothing about his crooked schemes and were both cleared of money laundering, but a third lover Ornela Miguel, 26, admitted the offence.
Uzoma-Ubani and fellow Nigerian Leonard Nwannenah, 33, of Dagenham, Essex, opened a ‘bewildering’ 752 bank accounts using the names of hard-working medics and members of the armed forces over a six-year period.
The pair were jailed for six years each while Miguel was handed a three-month sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Nwanneneh’s younger brother Okechi Nwannenah, 30, of Dagenham and Okechi’s wife Jennifer Okonkwo, 29, also allowed their bank accounts to be used to launder the proceeds.
Okechi was conditionally discharged for 18 months while Okonkwo will be sentenced later.
Prosecutor Peter Finnigan QC said the gang netted at least £665,000 and would have made £1.3million had all of the bogus applications for benefit payments been successful.
He said: ‘This case concerns the sophisticated and professional fraud operation which went on for a number of years.
‘This was done by targeting the UK’s benefit system and by cheque fraud.
‘They used a bewildering number of post office and bank accounts which numbered in the hundreds.