Kenyan care home assistant helped steal £6million in six weeks.

Posted: March 24, 2010 in Law & Disorder

A Kenyan care home assistant who helped steal £6million in six weeks bought a mansion and fitted it out with 13 TVs. Ilie

Ruth Ayinde-Azeez even had one of the plasma screens installed in a lavatory.

Her £2.1million six-bed-roomed home also had a home entertainment system, a gym and a sauna. She spent £200,000 on cars including a Bentley and a Land Rover Discovery, flew first class on exotic holidays and stayed in five-star hotels.

The 26-year-old, brought up in poverty in Kenya, spent huge sums at upmarket bars and restaurants and had £1.6million in her bank account. Her lifestyle was funded by the proceeds of an £8million scam based on fake mortgage applications by her husband Victor and his gang.

But the swindle unravelled and when Scotland Yard was called in, he fled abroad in May, 2008, after sending his wife a mobile phone text message saying: “Don’t Go Home. Police Are There.” Detectives arrested her in the Discovery outside the mansion in Barnet, Herts, with her baby son, two suitcases and a ticket to Nice in France.

Yesterday, Azeez held her head in her hands and sobbed as she was jailed for four years for laundering £1.25million through her accounts. Three other gang members were jailed at London’s Southwark Crown Court but a hunt is still on for her husband.

Azeez claimed she had no idea where all the cash came from but a jury found her guilty at an earlier hearing. Judge Anthony Beddoe said yesterday: “I do accept that you got sucked into the dishonesty of your husband, and it may be that had you never met, you would never have been in the position you are in. But you are not, I am afraid, as naïve as your counsel sought to suggest on your behalf to the jury.
“You were not stuck with Victor Ayinde-Azeez because you had his baby. This relationship became a meeting of minds and you came fully to enjoy the trappings of excessive wealth.”

Azeez played a key role in the scam which used a network of front companies to target high street banks. Detective Constable Terry Lambert said: “This was a meticulously planned fraud with involvement from a number of different criminals using seemingly legitimate businesses to launder huge amounts of money.”

He added: “There’s no doubt these companies never saw genuine business profit and were only set up to facilitate this scam. The luxurious lifestyles they were living shows a complete disregard for the law and it also makes Ayinde-Azeez’s defence that she did not know anything about the laundered money laughable.”

Police are still trying to trace Victor Ayinde-Azeez, 32, who is thought to be in his native Nigeria.

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