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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2006, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Tax credit fraudsters are jailed
Adesola Adelana
Adesola Adelana was caught on camera at a post office
Three identity thieves who tried to steal tax credits worth 357,000 have been sent to jail for up to four years.

The three stole the national insurance numbers of 37 people, mainly women, and then made false tax credit claims.

Miss Adesola Adelana, Stephen Ayankoya and Miss Adetutu Olowe pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal at Southwark Crown Court.

Adelana and Ayankoya were sentenced to four years each and Olowe to 30 months.

All three lived at addresses in North London at the time of their crimes.

Judge Stephen Robbins recommended that Adelana and Ayankoya be deported when their sentences were over.

"Identity fraud and crimes of this nature are of increasing public concern," he said.

"Courts must come down hard on these offences to allay public concern."

Identity theft

Of the stolen national insurance numbers, 28 were of women.

Using this information the three criminals opened 11 fraudulent bank accounts, forged eight driving licenses and obtained nine credit cards.

Adelana, who operated the bank accounts and credit cards, was caught on CCTV camera cashing some of the tax credit cheques at post offices.

Ayankoya was found with the bogus driving licenses in his car.

As well as being sent to jail, the three may have their assets seized at a confiscation hearing in January.

In July HMRC revealed that fraudsters tried to steal more than half a billion pounds in tax credits in the last financial year.

Of the 540m it knew about, 131m was actually lost to fraud - up from an earlier estimate of 15m.

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