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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 20:46 GMT
20m fraudster's lavish lifestyle
Shoes and Rolexes
Mayue-Belezika and Kasonga enjoyed designer products.
A postman is jailed for more than six years for masterminding a chequebook fraud thought to have netted 20m.

Police found he had a taste for the good things in life.

Congolese national Dido Mayue-Belezika swapped his impoverished homeland for a high-rolling lifestyle in which designer outlets became "second homes".

The chequebook fraudster, a 34-year old former postman, would drive to work in an old "banger" but would swap it for his swish Mercedes 4x4 after hours.

The fraudster's brother-in-law and accomplice, Ishiaba Kasonga, indulged in bespoke suits and handmade shoes.

He became such a valued customer to some businesses that he was introduced to the fashion designer Ozwald Boateng.

Their lavish lifestyles were funded by the "staggering" family-run cheque fraud masterminded by Mayue-Belezika from his council house in Camden, north London.

Expensive watches

Mayue-Belezika had 40,000 in his bank account and a safety deposit box shared with his brother-in-law which contained 125,000.

The box also contained Rolex and Omega watches worth thousands of pounds.

We're trying our hardest to get back as much of the money as we possibly can
Det Ch Insp Keith Surtees

Police believe Mayue-Belezika and his associates were driven by such a greed that their fraud simply reached a level which could not go unnoticed.

Luxury car showrooms, top-class jewellers and Saville Row shops were among the fraudster's favourite destinations.

He enjoyed frequenting upmarket stores like Vivienne Westwood and Liberty, and as his confidence grew, he took more risks.

He went to the same restaurant on two consecutive days using stolen credit cards in different names to settle the bill.

Mayue-Belezika even told a shop assistant that he couldn't remember the name on his credit card and suggested he would come back later to make payment.

Yet his employers only ever saw the thief drive a 500 Fiat Punto, which he used to deliver mail.

'Valued customer'

Meanwhile, salesmen have fondly recalled Kasonga buying bespoke suits costing up to 1,500 a time in cash.

One boasted his name embroidered on the lining.

He also had a love for hand-made shoes with one pair, complete with initials engraved in the sole, costing 1,400.

Several who recalled serving him described him as among their "most valued customers".

So valued in fact that he was personally introduced to top fashion designer Boateng at a Christmas dinner.

Among his other luxuries, Kasonga watched his favourite programmes on a Bang and Olufsen television.

Police pursuit

Det Ch Insp Keith Surtees said police would start legal proceedings to recover the cash and stop the criminals profiting from their scam.

"We're trying our hardest to get back as much of the money as we possibly can - the fact is that we will, some money has gone abroad I'm sure of that," he said.

"We know for a fact that these two individuals travelled abroad quite frequently. How much has gone abroad I can't answer right now.

"The fact of the matter is that we, as part of the investigation team will move heaven and earth, basically, as best we can to make sure that on the release of these guys from prison they're not going to live a lavish lifestyle in the Democratic Republic of Congo."



SEE ALSO
Postman is jailed for 20m fraud
23 Dec 05 |  London

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