A fraudster has been imprisoned today (13 December 2021) for duping a victim out of nearly £400,000 in a payment recovery fraud.
Emmanuel Okunoren received a four and half year custodial sentence for fraud by false representation at Exeter Crown Court.
The Devon and Cornwall police investigation and CPS prosecution demonstrated that Okunoren gained the trust of the victim and deceived them, by falsely claiming that he worked for a company called TMT investments, which was in fact a sham. The victim had originally lost money from a previous wine investment scheme which had not come to fruition.
The defendant identified the victim from this previous investment attempt and exploited his desire to recover his “lost” cases of wine. Okunoren falsely claimed that TMT Investments was able to retrieve the wine from where it was being stored and persuaded the victim that this could be done if significant administration fees and costs were met. As a result, between May 2020 and October 2020, the victim transferred a total of £399,334 to TMT investments in an effort to unlock these problems.
This was a well organised and sophisticated fraud as the victim was duped into making payments to a number of different bank accounts. The money was quickly dissipated either as cash withdrawals or onward transactions. No wine was never recovered.
Okunoren had an unexplained lavish lifestyle funded through cash. HMRC have no records of any legitimate earnings or declared income for him, over…