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Black Axe gang: Faces of gang members busted for cyber-crime and fraud in Ireland | #ukscams | #datingscams | #european | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating

They range from ‘high-ranking’ lieutenants to those foolish enough to let the mob use their accounts to launder cash.

They range from ‘high-ranking’ lieutenants to those foolish enough to let the mob use their accounts to launder cash.

Ireland became a stronghold for the gang, which originated in Africa in the 1970s but has tentacles around the world, and gardaí have been at the forefront of a major crackdown on their operations.

Gardaí have made hundreds of arrests in recent years as part Operation Skein, which is the Irish contribution to Interpol’s Operation Jackal targeting the notorious crime syndicate across 21 countries.

Black Axe is the main cyber-crime gang operating in Ireland and is involved in a large number of frauds, such as business email compromise (BEC) scams, romance frauds and fake ‘e-retailer’ schemes.

Gardaí and Interpol announced this week how authorities around the world were involved in a period of joint international law enforcement action against Black Axe, which mostly took place April and May.

The operation led to dozens of raids and arrests in counties across Ireland.

Among those arrested was a 40-year-old woman based in Clondalkin in Dublin who is considered to be one of the main players in the gang in Ireland.

The woman is suspected of running a large Irish network, which includes a bank employee who was also arrested by gardai as part of Operation Skein.

The operation began with a request for assistance from another EU country via EUROPOL in early 2020 after €1.1m was stolen in a BEC fraud and laundered through Asia. The fake emails originated from Ireland.

Ireland has also been a key location where the gang recruit ‘money mules’ who allow the gang to use their accounts to transfer the stolen funds.

Numerous Irish businesses have been victims of the scams.

However, gardaí have had major success against Black Axe and similar gangs operating here in recent years.

Junior Boboye was described by gardaí as a “high-ranking member of a West African crime group [Black Axe]” when he was jailed last December for five years for his role in an €800,000 money-laundering and fraud operation.

Boboye, with an address at Castle Park, Ashbourne, Co Meath, was described as “an active lieutenant and recruiting sergeant” within the hierarchy of an organised crime group at his sentencing hearing.

When gardaí searched his phone, they found Boboye had been sent a video of a man being executed by being shot in the head, to which Boboye responded: “True sir, he got what he deserved.”

Gardaí said it showed the lengths the gang would go to.

Boboye’s second-in-command, Emmanuel Olaniyan (29) from Liffey Terrace, Lucan, was jailed for three years for his part in the fraud.

Two others, Taiwo Ajike (24) and Onyebuchi Aduba (23) were ‘money mules’ for the operation. Ajike was given a suspended sentence while Aduba was dealt with under the Probation Act.

The money mules are at the lowest rung of the operation and are easily caught, as they use their own bank accounts, which can be easily traced.

While Boboye was described as a high-ranking member of the gang in court, in reality there are several tiers above him including middle-managers, a director and ultimately the gang’s bosses.

They also recruit computer experts to take part in infiltrating companies email systems.

While the online world is where the gang commits fraud, there have been a number of violent incidents linked to Black Axe in Ireland, including petrol bomb attacks.

A man arrested and convicted last year told gardai how another person above him received a threat to his life from the gang.

Joyce Sulambi received a suspended sentence

Last November Joyce Sulambi (24) of Lohunda Park, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, was given a suspended sentence after he defrauded two Irish transport companies by diverting an invoice of almost €50,000 into his own bank account.

When he was arrested he admitted his involvement to gardaí and told about the threat to the person who recruited him.

“I let my account be used for it. It was three lads, but I was mainly dealing with one lad, his life is under threat at the moment,” Sulambi told gardaí.

Another recruiter caught by gardaí was IT worker Ajibola Bamidele, who was described a ‘sergeant’ in the organisation when he was jailed for two years in December after he enlisted others as money mules for the gang.

Bamidele of Hastings Green, Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four counts of money laundering on dates in June and July 2020.

The court heard the former Google worker started out as a money mule himself before moving up to becoming a recruiter.

Another man targeted by gardaí, Kayode Falade, recently pleaded guilty to his part in a €125,000 redirect fraud carried out by Black Axe.

The court heard that hackers broke into employees’ email addresses, then contacted suppliers and creditors to divert legitimate payment for engineering work into a different bank account.

A false Nigerian passport was used to open the accounts where the money was redirected to, and Falade withdrew cash from the accounts.

Supermarket worker Falade (37) of St Vincent’s Street North, Phibsborough, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty his involvement in the fraud in June.

Last year, Valentin Radu (34), was given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence in relation to his part in the attempted theft of €743,000 as part of an email interception fraud.

Valentin Radu received a suspended sentence last year

Gardaí had identified 16 people linked to the fraud, which they believe was carried out by an international organised crime gang.

Radu, of Warrenstown Place, Blanchardstown, was a just a small cog in the operation and only withdrew €1,500 of the cash.

He told the Sunday World he was “stupid” for getting involved but denied being a member of the crime gang and said he was tricked into it by a friend who fled to Romania after the crime.

“I’m stupid I cannot help [it],” he told us. “I have my fault anyway. I f***ed up, that’s it. I made a mistake and need to realise that.”

Valentin Radu

Italian national Giuseppe Diviccaro (47), with an address at Addison Drive, Glasnevin, Dublin, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 2021 after helping launder thousands of euro for the Black Axe.

He opened seven bank accounts using a real ID but a fraudulent utility bill and then laundered €200,000 through the accounts.

Gardaí found almost €10,000 in cash in his apartment when they raided it.

Diviccaro, who posed as fashion photographer working internationally in Europe and Nigeria while actually working for the gang, later said he had a gambling addiction which turned him “into a criminal”.

Giuseppe Diviccaro was jailed

He was part of a trend in Ireland where bank accounts were opened in Italian names and were used to launder money for the gang.

Another fraudster – Ami Enabulele, of Glendale Manor, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal – was jailed for three years last summer after he was centrally involved in a scam where more than €205,000 was taken from dozens of AIB customers’ accounts.

In that scam the gang accessed online accounts of victims and contacted banks pretended they had forgotten their passwords.

Ami Enabulele, who was jailed for three years

They then used phone shop employees to get SIM cards in the same number as the victims but with a different phone provider.

When the bank sent texts to the numbers so they could change their passwords the fraudsters were then able to access the victims’ accounts.

Enabulele has close links to a Dublin-based gang member who was higher up the chain in the operation and was arrested last August.


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