Following their investigation a package of evidence identifying those involved was passed to West Midlands Police.
On 17 May 2017 Adebayo Apanpa and Gerald Akubude appeared at Birmingham Crown Court and pleaded guilty to money laundering offences.
In May 2015 Apanpa had allowed £18,000 to be paid into his bank account knowing it to be fraudulently obtained. The money was disseminated to a series of other bank accounts before it was withdrawn as cash. Whilst he was not the person sending the payment he gave full access to organised criminals who coordinated the fraud.
Gerald Akubude was key in orchestrating the scam. Examination of his mobile phone revealed copies of the actual fraudulent email sent to the victim Shipping company. Whilst in interview he was vehement that another person used his mobile phone, bank account and internet services to carry out aspects of the scam the evidence forced him into changing his mind at court and he admitted his involvement.
David Thompson, who led the Signum investigation said 'Cybercrime offences are extremely difficult to investigate and prosecute. In this case we were able to provide the police with a full dossier of evidence and intelligence that permitted them to swiftly apprehend those involved. This shows that through diligent investigation and constructive liaison with our police contacts it is possible to obtain positive and rewarding results.
As in other similar cases that we have previously dealt with, Signum will push for the recovery of stolen funds via confiscation orders made against the two guilty men under the Proceeds of Crime Act.'
The Member's lawyer, Russell Harling of Campbell Johnson Clark said:
'Many thanks for the splendid effort on this case. Even if we do not recover compensation, it is important to underline that ship owners will not tolerate this kind of fraudulent behaviour'.
Both men will be sentenced on 14th June 2017.