A BASINGSTOKE man is among four people who are jailed for defrauding major phone companies out of more than £400,000. 

Four people who pleaded guilty to defrauding Vodafone, EE, O2 and the Carphone Warehouse out of £429,304 appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, March 8, and have been jailed for a combined total of 11 years.

One of them is Taofeeq Balogun, 30, of no fixed address in Basingstoke, who admitted his part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £25,000.

He was jailed for three years.

READ MORE: Warning issued after reports of courier fraud in Hampshire

He was part of an organised crime group that was involved in high-value commercial fraud.

The fraudsters used stolen personal details of existing customers from all over England and Wales to take out new phone contracts and obtain expensive mobile phones and similar items such as Apple Watches and iPads.

Operation Waterspout was a Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary investigation into this crime group.

Oluwadamilola Bolaji, 32, of Black Eagle Drive in Gravesend, Kent, also admitted his part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £145,000. He was jailed for six years and three months.

Taiwo Agusto, 43, of Osbourne Road in Dartford, Kent, admitted his part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £3,000. He was jailed for one year and nine months.

Carriba Johnson, 31, of Nelson Square in Southwark, London, admitted her part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £2,500. She was given a suspended sentence of 24 months imprisonment.

A fifth person, Abidemi Adegbite, 56, of Bennett Castle Lane in Dagenham, Essex, has admitted his part in the fraud conspiracy to the value of £190,000.

He is due to appear for sentencing at a later date.

Between April 2019 and March 2020, as part of a nationwide fraud, Bolaji, Adegbite, Balogun, Agusto and Johnson stole mobile phone customers details, used fake ID and fake documents to impersonate those customers, and visited mobile phone stores to gain expensive mobile phones and other devices.

This resulted in a loss of almost £430k for phone companies Vodafone, EE, O2 and the Carphone Warehouse.

The fraud series came to light after a Hampshire resident reported that between Friday, February 14, 2020 and Wednesday, February 19, 2020, four mobile phone accounts had been opened up in his name without his permission or knowledge.

EE contracts had been taken out in the Fareham and Waterlooville Carphone Warehouse stores and phones where also taken out in O2 and Vodafone stores.

Hampshire police contacted EE who found the fraud involving this resident’s details were part of a series of frauds which were all linked to nine main handsets.

As part of the investigation, during searches of the group’s homes, many forged documents were seized; such as fake passports, bankcards, bank statements, utility bills and stolen driving licences. 

Seized bank statements showed substantial amounts of money going through their accounts without a legitimate source of where it came from, and many of the seized items were shown to have been used in the fraud to obtain mobile phones, linking together by cell site data, sharing SIMS going into handsets, and also by bank transactions between themselves.

Five high-value watches and over £40,000 in cash were also found and seized.

SEE ALSO: Tributes to The Tea Bar manager Russell Johnston who has died

Police said 176 phone company customers had their details used for 602 fraud transactions, but did not experience any financial loss.

DC Owain Davies from the Hampshire police economic crime team said: “This investigation involved extensive analysis of a huge amount of financial documentation in order to gather the evidence needed to put these offenders before the court.

“I hope that these results send a clear message to those who commit fraud that their actions won’t go unnoticed and that this type of behaviour will be investigated fully.”