Croydon fraudsters who lived in luxury in Nigeria told to repay £1m
A COUPLE who lived a life of luxury in Nigeria while cheating benefits in Croydon have been told to cough up more than £1 million or face prison.
Ovo Mayomi and Juliet Ubiribo, who lived in Longheath Gardens, Shirley, swindled £43,000 in taxpayers' money from the authorities – falsely claiming benefits despite owning a huge house, a fish farm and items of expensive jewellery.
The pair were convicted in 2010, after which an investigation was launched to find out how much the Nigerian-born couple had gained from their criminal lifestyle.
Mayomi, 44, disputed the investigation's outcome but, last Friday, Judge Nicholas Ainley ruled at Croydon Crown Court that Mayomi must pay back £1,197,743.54 by March 14 next year.
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In the course of their probe, Croydon Council's anti-fraud team found Mayomi owned a luxurious house in Nigeria worth more than £1 million, complete with chandeliers, £89,000 worth of sound equipment and a £25,000 watch.
He was also found to have owned a fish farm in the African country, even though records supplied to the tax office stated that he was a minicab driver earning a mere £700 a month.
If Mayomi fails to pay up he could be jailed for six years, last Friday's hearing was told.
At an earlier hearing in July, a confiscation order was made against Ubiribo, 32, for £9,357.42 to be paid by October 19, or she could face five months in prison.
Investigators discovered she was the owner of a Rolex watch and a Mercedes Sport Coupé.
The couple's scam stemmed from Ubiribo stating she was a single parent to claim housing and council tax benefits to help her pay £900 in rent each month.
But a visa application submitted by her husband showed they had married a year earlier and that Ubiribo had a job in order to support him.
Ubiribo also asked the council to rehouse her because she was the victim of domestic violence.
However, the telephone number she gave revealed the man she named as her landlord – Ayiomike Neburagho – was, in fact, her husband Mayomi using a false identity.
At a police interview, Mayomi admitted that while living in Nigeria, he had bought the identity of Ayiomike Neburagho and had entered the UK as him.
Of the cash to be reclaimed, 50 per cent will go to the Treasury.
Of the remaining 50 per cent, one third will go towards covering court costs and the remainder will go to Croydon Council.