A Nigerian conman won refugee status to stay in the UK by claiming he was persecuted in Nigeria for being gay before going on to have three children with three women in Britain, has been arrested for masterminding a £220,000 Facebook and eBay parcel fraud racket.
Asylum seeker Saheed Azeez, 33, had been allowed to settle in the UK after claiming he faced persecution by Boko Haram militants, but after moving to the country he had three children with three women, marrying the third. He now says he is bisexual.
After settling in Wigan, Greater Manchester, Azeez began working with Nigerian fraudsters to establish a network of strangers for a ‘sophisticated and well-resourced’ sales scam to steal items being sold on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and WhatsApp, Mail Online reported.
The report said victims selling high-value goods were persuaded to send their items to a number of addresses on the promise of being paid on arrival, but Azeez would simply pick up the goods and sell them in his brother’s electronics shop.
Over 14 months, up to 272 victims sent goods worth a combined £220,000 to the homes of strangers that Azeez persuaded to take part in the scam, giving his ‘partners’ a cut from each sale in return for taking delivery of the ill-gotten goods.
Police later tracked down Azeez as he was dropping off one of his young sons at a primary school. As he was about to be detained, he reportedly hid three smartphones used in the scam inside the boy’s school bag, which were found by a teaching assistant.
The phones were found to contain videos made by Azeez: one sent to an underworld contact named ‘Baddest Boy’ showed images of used smartphones stolen from sellers.
At Bolton Crown Court, Azeez admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and plotting to possess criminal property.
He will be sentenced next week but faces up to six years in jail.
Nine householders who allowed their addresses to be used as ‘drops’ in the scam will also be sentenced next year.
The scam took place between September 2020 and November 2021 after former Yodel delivery driver Azeez began providing.