Fake builders steal £2m from Olympics team
London, UK – A gang of con men stole more than £2m from the Olympic Development Authority by pretending to work for a building firm, a court has heard.
The fraudsters said they worked for a major contractor at the Olympic Park
The scam saw them ring up the ODA and tell them they were representatives of Skanska, one of the major contractors at the Olympic park in Stratford, East London.
They said the construction firm had a new bank account into which any money owed to it should be paid from then on, and provided a new set of bank details.
The unsuspecting London 2012 Games body accepted the story and ended up handing the fraudsters £2.3m.
Ansmana Kamara, 31, from Sierra Leone, was jailed for three and a half years at Southwark Crown Court after he admitted laundering the stolen cash.
After the money was paid into the accounts of his bogus law firm, he set about distributing large amounts to accomplices, before attempting to wire a cheque for £2m to Nigeria.
But suspicious staff at the money transfer bureau in question prevented the cash being sent overseas and the authorities were able to recover it before it was too late.
Sentencing Kamara, Judge Jeffrey Pegden, QC, said: “These money-laundering offences are serious because they targeted a public authority and £2.3m was dishonestly acquired, albeit for a relatively short period.
“Although not responsible for the original fraud, I am satisfied that you were close to it, and I have come to that conclusion because you received all of the money.”
Andrew Henley, defending, said Kamara had fled to Britain in 2001 after his father, who was the national chief of police in Sierra Leone, was hanged following a military coup.
He was initially given temporary leave to remain in Britain but his asylum application was later rejected.
Mr Henley said despite these difficulties, his client had managed to start a successful computer repair busness in Wolverhampton, and had later branched out into providing advice on immigration.
Kamara pleaded guilty to a variety of charges including converting criminal property and possessing a false identity document with intent.
Graham Fitzgerald, Sky News
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