You couldn't make it up - how a 419 scammer won the day
Mr Benye, an enterprising Nigerian bloke living in south London, made £989,813.75 from 419 advance fee frauds. He was convicted of fraud in July 2004 and sentenced to 3 years and six months imprisonment. The money was not recovered. A confiscation order was made for £141,751.26 - in lieu of which, Mr Benye would serve a further 2 years in prison. He signed over assets to that value, and scarpered. He is currently believed to be living in the West Indies.
Part of the assets he signed over was £119,000 equity in a Right-to-Buy council property, a flat at 43 Valentine Court, Perry Vale, London SE23.
The flat was bought in the name of his 'wife', a lady called Mrs Benye. She signed a declaration that gave her a 60% discount. No-one thought to check whether Mrs Benye was an illegal immigrant; in fact she is. In 2004 she was removed from the UK by the Immigration authorities. She stayed in Lagos, in Nigeria 'for about 10 days' before coming back to the UK. Presumably on a false passport.
Mrs Benye told the court a pack of lies about where she had got the money to buy the council flat (as stated by the judge). She describes her occupation as "part-time cleaner, businesswoman and housewife". All the evidence pointed to the funds having come from Mr Benye's 419 fraud activities.
The CPS tried to claim the flat that Mr Benye had signed over. The court was unable to grant their request. Mrs Benye, so far as we know, continues to enjoy life in Perry Vale.
The full case is Here on Bailii.
Who says crime doesn't pay?