Southsea man helps steal £22,000 from woman’s bank account after her e-mail is hacked

Tokunbo G Okunuga
Tokunbo G Okunuga
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A MAN who helped fraudulently take £22,000 from a foreign bank account by hacking an email address has been jailed.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how a laptop belonging to 31-year-old Tokunbo Okunuga was used to hack an email account belonging to Ilaria Purini, who lives in London.

Emails were sent pretending to be from Ilaria, to Ilaria’s mother’s personal banker in Italy, asking for two transactions of £8,784.59 and £14,215 to be transferred over.

It was only when Ilaria’s mother Rosanna Rose went to check her account days later that she realised the money was missing.

She got in touch with her personal banker who said he had received an email from Ilaira asking for money - something that regularly happens as Ilaria works at a London museum and often asks for large sums of money to purchase works of art.

The bank account was in the name of G Okunuga - his middle initial instead of his first.

An investigation began and the emails were tracked back to Okunuga’s laptop.

Okunuga, from Hyde Park Road in Southsea, admitted two counts of fraud and one count of transferring criminal property.

Martyn Booth, prosecuting, said: ‘She (Rosanna) went to her bank account in Rome to check on a number of transactions that she was expecting to take place. She was concerned by two large transactions she wasn’t expecting.

‘She contacted her personal banker and asked for an explanation. He explained he had authorised these payments by instruction from her daughter by email.

‘It’s not uncommon that she will ask for sums of money to be paid for the payments of pieces of art. It’s something that they have done in the past. She contacted her daughter. She didn’t know anything about it.’

The court also heard how the crime was not committed solely by Okunaga and there was another party involved.

Paul Walker, defending, said: ‘The primary role that he played was providing the bank account. He knew the scheme was being done but it wasn’t him who hacked in. It was being done on his computer.’

Police found evidence on the laptop of browsing history related to hacking accounts and references to Italy.

Judge Robert Hill, said: ‘This was what’s termed as a cross border case. It was a hit on a bank account in Italy.

‘The victim here is an elderly lady.

‘She has been badly affected. She lost confidence. The relationship with her personal banker has broken down.

‘There will have to be a prison sentence.’

Okunuga was sentenced to two years in prison and a victim surcharge of £100.