Gang accused of £46,000 Boris Bike scam

Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment

A gang of fraudsters may have swindled more than £46,000 from the Barclays London Cycle Hire scheme by making scores of bogus refund payments to their friends, Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday.

Nana Boateng, 26, and Jose Dias, 27, allegedly organised sham repayments while working for SERCO, the company that organises the London Cycle Hire programme.

The two men, who worked at the firm's Enfield offices, are accused of dishonestly arranging for refunds from the bike scheme to be channeled into the accounts of six of their friends between 21 September to 16 December 2010.
They are jointly charged alongside another former colleague Devina Joseph-Albert, 22, with one count of conspiracy to defraud.

Prosecutors claimed the three channeled repayments through the accounts of George Hayden, 29, Zakir Bhad, 24, Darnel Joseph-Albert, 20, Samuel Njie, 26, Elizabeth Spencer, 36, and Sakinah MacAulay, 24.

Hayden, Bhad, Njie, Spencer and MacAulay have admitted entering into an arrangement and will be sentenced later this year.

Dias and Devina Joseph-Albert, both of Clapton, east London, appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court yesterday for a plea and case management hearing.

Darnel Joseph-Albert, also of Clapton, east London, pleaded not guilty to a single count of entering into an arrangement and will stand trial later this year.

Boateng, of Enfield, north London, was not present for the brief hearing as the court heard he was having 'transport difficulties.' The three men did not enter pleas.
Court documents obtained by the Daily Mail state that the group "conspired with together and with others unknown to defraud Transport for London by dishonestly arranging for the payment of refunds relating to the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme to which the recipients were not lawfully entitled."

Each defendant "entered into or became concerned in an arrangement which they knew or suspected facilitated, by whatever means, the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by or on behalf of another person."

Judge Stephen Robbins adjourned the hearing until 7 March and fixed a trial date for 24 September.

The Barclays London Cycle Hire Scheme launched back June 2010 amidst much controversy, and there are currently more than 6,000 bikes and 400 docking stations around the capital.
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