Crime gang facing jail after recruiting teenage girls for £500,000 shoplifting scam
Members of a crime gang who recruited teenage girls into a £500,000 nationwide shoplifting scam are facing jail for modern slavery offences.
Ringleader Isaiah Olugosi, 38, recruited, trained and transported the youngsters to commit refund fraud in high street stores around the UK.
The girls, who were around 14 years old on average, were paid for their crimes, and offered perks like overnight stays and takeaway meals, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
If they were stopped by security, they were left to face the consequences, meaning they could be abandoned miles from home.
The scam made at least £500,000 in just over two years between January 2018 and March 2020 with girls committing a fraud every week.
They put fake barcodes on items to pay a cheaper price before later returning for a full price refund, meaning a phone bought for £20 could get a £120 refund.
Olugosi (pictured, left), from Ely, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, possession of articles for use in frauds, transferring criminal property and conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel or another person with a view to exploitation.
His wife Holly Chapman, 31, admitted transferring criminal property after her bank accounts were used to deposit cash from the scam.
Olugosi trained Baran Karamagara (pictured, right), 22, to take over the day-to-day-management of the operation and he was involved in driving the girls around.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel or another person with a view to exploitation.
The case can be reported after Eva Dambrauskaite, 21, of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, was found guilty following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court of two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, possession of articles for use in frauds, transferring criminal property conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel or another person with a view to exploitation and possession of a class B drug.
They will be sentenced between April 18 and 22.
Senior CPS prosecutor Marie Olo said: “Isaiah Olugosi recruited, coached and transported teenage girls around the country to commit refund fraud in high street stores.
“The girls were selected because they were vulnerable, with difficult backgrounds or mental health issues, and when they were caught, he was perfectly willing to step back and let them face arrest and potential prosecution.
“When he learned the police had discovered his involvement he tried desperately but unsuccessfully to destroy evidence and hide money.
“Exploiting others for criminal gain is a serious criminal offence and wherever possible the CPS will work with police to help victims escape the clutches of modern slavery, while prosecuting the people who have pulled the strings.”
Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2022, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) The Crown Prosecution Service.