Modern-day Fagin found dead in jail awaiting sentence for trafficking

Modern-day Fagin found dead in jail awaiting sentence for trafficking

Modern-day Fagin, 38, is found dead in jail as he awaited sentence for trafficking dozens of young girls around the country in £500,000 shop fraud scam

  • Isaiah Olugosi, 38, was discovered dead in HMP Wormwood Scrubs yesterday
  • He had pleaded guilty in May and was convicted for trafficking dozens of girls
  • Over 30 teenage victims were discovered by police when they raided the operation at home in Ely, Cambridgeshire, where he lived with his wife

The ringleader of a modern day ‘Fagin Gang’ who trafficked vulnerable teenage girls around the UK in a £500,000 shop fraud scam has been found dead in jail.

Isaiah Olugosi, 38, was discovered in his cell at HMP Wormwood Scrubs in West London, where he was awaiting sentence after being convicted.

He pleaded guilty in May last year of masterminding a scam that defrauded over 100 shops nationwide in a two year reign of theft.

Isaiah Olugosi, 38, was discovered in his cell at HMP Wormwood Scrubs in West London, where he was awaiting sentence after being convicted

In a rare move, Olugosi, his wife Holly and members of his organised crime group were charged under modern slavery laws.

Over 30 teenage victims exploited by the gang were discovered by police when they shut down the criminal operation.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: ‘HMP Wormwood Scrubs prisoner Isaiah Olugosi died in his cell on March 28.

‘The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.’

Olugosi was found by prison staff when they opened his cell on D-wing at 8.45am.

He was pronounced dead at 9am and there were no suspicious circumstances.

At Snaresbrook Crown Court, Olugosi admitted conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of children for exploitation, two counts of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and possession of articles for use in fraud.

Holly Olugosi also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering at the same court in north-east London.

The court was told the massive fraud enabled the couple, from Ely, Cambridgeshire, to enjoy a jetset lifestyle.

Holly Olugosi spent huge sums of swindled cash on cosmetic surgery, tanning sessions, a new Mercedes, luxury holidays and even a fridge costing £2,500.

The victims aged between 14 and 17 were discovered by police when they unearthed the extent of the fraud in 2020.

Girls were recruited via social media and approached on the street, with some living in foster homes while others had been reported missing, police said.

Isiah Olugosi, 38, orchestrated the large-scale fraud enterprise from his home in Ely, Cambridgeshire, where he lived with his wife.

Olugosi, his wife Holly and members of his organised crime group were charged under modern slavery laws

They printed out and put fake barcodes on items to pay a cheaper price before later returning for a full price refund, meaning a phone bought for £20 could get a £120 refund.

It is believed the shop scams began in around 2018, but bank data showed funds from crime going into Olugosi’s accounts as far back as 2013, the Metropolitan police said.

The crooked operation was too large for one person to control alone and Olugosi quickly began to build up a network of trusted associates including ‘team leaders’ and ‘drivers’ who took part in the scams across the country.

Eva Dambrauskaite, 21, and Baran Karamagara, 22, were made team leaders who recruited and managed vulnerable young girls in order to carry out theft and fraud for the organised crime gang.

Many of the victims were picked-up while living in foster homes or supported facilities and some had been reported missing by their families.

The team leaders would trick or coerce the girls into joining their criminal gang, before Olugosi and his drivers transported them across the UK using pre-planned routes to target branches of each store.

The girls would often be missing for several days, committing fraud during the day and staying in hotels at night.

In the early part of the conspiracy, Isaiah Olugosi personally drove the victims around, telling them what goods to get, which fraud technique to use and which branches to target.

A typical day included theft and fraud from over 10 stores, making thousands of pounds per route for the gang.

The court was told the massive fraud enabled the couple, from Ely, Cambridgeshire, to enjoy a jetset lifestyle

The stolen funds were then laundered through at least one hundred UK bank accounts and Isaiah Olugosi, Karamagara and Dambrausakite which were controlled by the crooks, in many cases set-up in the names of vulnerable children or adults with mental health problems.

To evade authorities, mobile phones and vehicles were registered at addresses of adults known to have mental health problems or severe learning difficulties.

By March 2020, the group gathered about £500,000 in profits as a result of their large-scale fraud conspiracy, Scotland Yard said.

Police began investigating the gang after being tipped off by children’s services and when retailers reported some of the scams.

Shop fraud investigators noticed a pattern of young girls getting refunds with false receipts.

In March 2020, police raided a string of homes in London, Essex and Cambridge and seized printers, computer equipment, fake receipts, bar codes, cash and devices used to communicate with the girls.

After searching Holly Olugosi’s home, cops found she tried to hide several pieces of evidence before returning to their home where officers were still searching.

Karamagara and Dambrauskaite were arrested at addresses in Essex and Tottenham, north London, on March 16, 2020.

Isaiah Olugosi was arrested at an address in Ilford the next day and Holly Olugosi, 31, was interviewed under caution at a police station in Cambridgeshire.

When police later went to charge Isaiah Olugosi at his home he fled the cops and went on the run for six days before being caught in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

While on the run, he had already created a new life for himself, living in a rented room under an assumed name in a bid to evade police.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided the gang could be charged under the Modern Slavery Act. It is believed this is the first time the act has been used in a fraud case in UK law.

After a three-week trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Dambrauskaite, of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, was found guilty of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of children for exploitation, two counts of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering, possession of articles for use in fraud and possession of cannabis.

Baran Karamagara, of Tottenham, north London, admitted conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of children for exploitation and two counts of conspiracy to defraud in December.

All four were due to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court for sentencing at a date yet to be set.

Sergeant PJ Jones, officer in the case from the Met’s Predatory Offender Unit, said after the final court case : ‘This is a serious case involving the criminal exploitation of a large number of juvenile girls spanning many years.

‘Olugosi and others were too cowardly to execute their own crimes, and actively recruited girls with obvious vulnerabilities.

‘They embedded themselves through peer groups of vulnerable people using them to commit fraud and using their accounts to launder money.

‘This was a protracted investigation which involved countless enquiries, witness statements and searches of premises to secure evidence from offences as widely spread as Glasgow and Devon.

‘Throughout the proceedings, all of the suspects in this case did everything they could to conceal evidence, minimise their own involvement and delay justice.

‘I am thankful to the staff from both retailers for highlighting this case as a safeguarding concern from the outset, voicing concerns about the ages of the girls involved.

Olugosi was found by prison staff when they opened his cell on D-wing at 8.45am

‘Without the bravery of all of the victims and witnesses in this case, the enterprise would never have been unearthed and I wish to thank them all for their trust.

‘The Metropolitan Police Service has officers dedicated to confront those targeting vulnerable people and continue to work closely with partners to tackle Modern Slavery and exploitation.’

Marie Olo, of the CPS said after the latest hearing that the young victims were picked out by the gang because of their troubled backgrounds.

She added: ‘Isaiah Olugosi recruited, coached and transported teenage girls around the country to commit refund fraud in high street stores.

‘The girls were selected because they were vulnerable with difficult backgrounds or mental health problems, and when they were caught, he was perfectly willing to step back and let them face arrest and potential prosecution.

‘When he learned the police had discovered his involvement he tried desperately but unsuccessfully to destroy evidence and hide money.

‘Exploiting others for criminal gain is a serious criminal offence and wherever possible the CPS will work with police to help victims escape the clutches of modern slavery, while prosecuting the people who have pulled the strings.’

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