A gang of fraudsters have been jailed for a total of more than 43 years for their parts in the theft of millions of pounds.

Ten people, six of whom are family relations, were found guilty for being part of the large-scale scam which targeted businesses and individuals in the UK and abroad.

The following people were convicted between Tuesday, March 26 and Thursday, March 28 and sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Thursday, 2 May, following a six-month trial:

Andrew Chike Chukwu, 35, of River Road, Buckhurst Hill, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to money laundering was sentenced to 10 years.

His wife Grace Plange Chukwu, 39, same addresses, was found guilty of acquiring/possessing criminal property and was given a conditional discharge.

Bonaventure Sunday Chukwuka, 41, of Roding Gardens, Loughton, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering.

He was also found guilty of possession of a phone in prison and was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment.

His wife Queen Chukwuka, 32, same address, was found guilty of acquiring/possessing criminal property was sentenced to a community order.

Emmanuel Chike Chukwuka, 27, same address, was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Christian Chukwuka, 39, of Latchetts Shaw, Basildon, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering was sentenced to five years and nine months.

Nadeem Abbasi, 48, of St Michaels Avenue, Wembley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to money laundering and was sentenced to two years and three months’ months.

Mansoor Zaman, 27, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, and money laundering and was sentenced six years and nine months’ imprisonment.

Ionut Relu Muresan, 34, of Long Deacon Road, E4, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to money launder was sentenced to five years.

Mohammed Rahman, 31, of Garnies Close, Peckham, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering is to be sentenced at a later date.

Bonaventure Chukwuka led the organised criminal gang which hacked into individuals and businesses email accounts and stealing large sums of money.

Officers from the Met’s Falcon Fraud Squad launched the investigation after receiving referrals from Action Fraud.

Detectives identified a total of 228 separate frauds committed by the same network between 2014 to 2018, totalling to £10,112,312.54.

A total of 69 victims, who were traced with the help of National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, provided evidence during the trial, many have been unable to recover their losses.

The gang intercepted log-in details and emails accounts worldwide and sent spoofs, duping the victims into paying the funds into alternative UK-based “mule” bank accounts.

A total of 165 “mule” accounts, opened with fake identification documents or bought from unscrupulous account holders, were identified by detectives.

They were used to receive the proceeds of the diversion fraud, where the money was quickly transferred onto other accounts, some of which were untraceable.

The fraudsters also used the funds from mule accounts to buy and export thousands of pounds of baby milk to Nigeria, to launder the money.

Bonaventure, Emmanuel and Christian Chukwuka were arrested on Friday, January 26 2018, on suspicion of fraud and charged the following day.

Abassi established the sham company and opened business bank accounts, one of which received £1.9m on behalf of the wider gang, was arrested at Heathrow airport on Wednesday, February 14 2018.

Zaman was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Wednesday, 4 April 2018 and Rahman was arrested on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 for sourcing mule accounts.

Andrew Chike Chuwku was later identified as a significant associate and was arrested on Wednesday, 11 April 2018.

Officers will now begin confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to try and recover the money stolen.

DC Chris Collins, of the Falcon Fraud Squad, said: “This gang of fraudsters were unscrupulous, organised and prolific, and over a period of four years stole millions of pounds from unsuspecting businesses and individuals, and lived an extremely comfortable life with the profits.

“The frauds were brazen, and this gang clearly thought they could continue with their criminal lifestyle without detection.

“However, arrests followed what was a complex investigation carried out diligently by the Met’s Falcon Fraud Squad, with hundreds of fraud reports being reviewed by detectives trawling through financial records.

“The evidence amassed by detectives and presented during the trial pointed towards a large-scale, planned fraud operation which involved payments arranged between two parties being successfully intercepted and diverted by this gang, into “mule” accounts set up for the purpose of receiving stolen funds.

“I hope this conviction sends a strong message to online fraudsters: we have the ways and means of tracing you and we will seek to bring you to justice.”

Commander Karen Baxter, National Police Coordinator for Economic Crime at the City of London Police,said: “As the national lead force for fraud, Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau are responsible for ensuring that the UK can better identify, investigate and detect fraud and cyber crime.

“As a result of the reports made to Action Fraud, the Falcon Unit has been able to achieve justice for the hundreds of victims affected by these substantial crimes.

“This case is a shining example of law enforcement using a joined-up approach to combat fraud and cyber crime."

For more information about how you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim of fraud or cyber crime, visit www.met.police.uk

You can also find out more about online fraud and report offences via Action Fraud – call 0300 123 2040, or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk