Former rail workers jailed over £98,000 delay repay scheme frauds

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Two former Southern rail workers have been jailed for their parts in a scam to make almost £100,000 worth of false train delay compensation claims, police said.

Abiodun Bamidele and fellow Southern worker Jeffrey Opoku were among four people convicted over the delay repay fraud.

The pair, alongside Elizabeth Howell and George Omole Wangboje, were involved in making 350 claims to the value of £98,000, of which almost £55,000 was paid out.

The group, headed by ringleader Bamidele, used dozens of different names and addresses to commit their crimes between 2010 and 2015, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

Many of the payouts were made in the form of travel vouchers, which were often sold on or used to buy season tickets, police said.

Bamidele and Opoku jokingly called themselves "Mr Hull Trains" and "Mr Great Western Train Robber" as they committed their crimes, BTP said.

The group were uncovered when their handwriting was recognised on the countless claims made.

Detective Sergeant Nick Thompson said: "This group of individuals were making money by exploiting the Train Operating Companies' (TOCs) delay repay compensation scheme that was put in place to compensate honest fare-paying members of the travelling public who have been inconvenienced by delayed trains."

Bamidele, 54, of Cuthbert Road, London, will serve four years in jail after pleading guilty to charges including conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

Opoku, of Aytoun Road, London, and Howell, of Dovedale Avenue, Coventry, admitted charges of conspiracy to defraud and entering into or becoming concerned in a money-laundering arrangement.

Opoku, 55, was jailed for two years while 46-year-old Howell was given a suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Wangboje was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and using a false instrument with intent.

The 58-year-old, of Little Grove Field, Harlow, Essex, was given a suspended sentence and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Bamidele was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Thursday while Opoku, Howell and Wangboje were sentenced at the same court last Friday.