Donegal court hears bank account fraud facilitated by mobile shop workers – The Irish Times

A gang that included employees of a mobile phone shop were behind a major fraud that resulted in the theft of more than €200,000 from dozens of AIB bank account holders, a court in Co Donegal.

The scam involved the accounts of ‘supported’ people using duplicate SIM cards to access money remotely before the accounts were raided. A 27-year-old father of three appeared in Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with 185 counts relating to online fraud.

Ami Enabulele, of Glendale Manor, Letterkenny, pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering, theft, attempted theft and unlawful use of a computer.

In total, a total of €205,201 was taken from dozens of personal bank accounts ranging from around €1,000 to €50,000. All the money has since been returned to the account holders, but AIB, whose fraud team discovered the scam, has still not paid.

Garda Detective Shane Fitzsimons of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) described the scam as Enabulele appeared to be convicted for his part in the fraud. He explained how the accounts were accessed when the gang accessed people’s accounts online and claimed they had lost their passwords.

In the meantime, the gang had liaised with some phone shop employees and bought SIM cards from the same phone number as the bank account holder, but using a different phone carrier. When the bank sent a text message with a new password to the account holder, the gang then gained access to the account and began taking money.

AIB’s fraud department spotted the missing money after noticing that a suspicious IP address had accessed or “taken over” 45 of their personal bank accounts. In May 2019, the bank made a report of the fraud to GNECB.

Gardaí tracked Enabulele using its IP address and a unique VID number that is attached to any device that connects to an online APP. AIB’s fraud unit was able to show that this number was linked to all accounts that had been taken over and from which funds had been withdrawn.

When he was arrested and brought to Letterkenny Garda station on May 30, 2019, Enabulele admitted his role in the fraud and that he knew it was wrong. He also admitted to transferring money from AIB accounts to a postal account so that it could be withdrawn.

The garda said the defendant was a bit vague with some details, but overall he was “open and honest” about his involvement. He also confirmed that a number of phone shop workers were “accomplices” in the scam, but Enabulele was the only person in court. No details of the identity of the phone shop employees or the location of the shops were provided in evidence.

Enabulele claimed to have received around €10,000 for his part in the overall scam.

Evidence was given that a woman, a Mrs. Noonan, had her account taken 59 times between 18 and 23 December 2018 and €11,259 deducted from her account. Another woman, Ms Broderick, had €50,201.93 withdrawn from her account.

Enabulele’s attorney, Shane Costello SC, said his client admitted to the offenses but stressed he was part of a larger group of people involved. He added that his client’s first plea saved what would no doubt have been a very complex trial and that his plea was of great benefit to the state.

He said his client was an asylum seeker who had no job and got involved in this scam through friends to make money. Enabulele has three children with a fourth on the way but he was no longer in a relationship with the children’s mother, he added, as he cared for one of the children with special needs.

Mr Costello added that his client said he also got involved in the scam out of boredom and failed to see the scale of the scam which eventually ‘spinned out of control’.

Judge John Aylmer said he would need time to review all the evidence and adjourned the case for final sentencing on Thursday week.

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