A Nigerian man who obtained refugee status in the UK under the guise of being gay was arrested for masterminding a £220,000 Facebook and eBay parcel fraud ring and having children with three women in the country.
Saheed Azeez was allowed to settle in the UK after claiming to be persecuted by Boko Haram militants, but after arriving, he had three children with three different women, marrying the third. He now claims to be bisexual.
Azeez began working with Nigerian fraudsters after settling in Wigan to establish a network of strangers for a’sophisticated and well-resourced’ sales scam to steal items being sold on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and WhatsApp, according to Mail Online.
According to the report, victims selling high-value items were persuaded to send their items to a number of addresses with the promise of payment upon arrival, but Azeez would simply pick up the goods and sell them in his brother’s electronics shop.
Over the course of 14 months, up to 272 victims sent goods worth a total of £220,000 to the homes of strangers persuaded to participate in the scam by Azeez, who gave his ‘partners’ a cut from each sale in exchange for taking delivery of the ill-gotten goods.
Azeez was later apprehended by police while dropping off one of his young sons at a primary school. As he was about to be arrested, he allegedly hid three smartphones used in the scam inside the boy’s school bag, which a teaching assistant discovered.
The phones contained videos made by Azeez, including one sent to an underworld contact named ‘Baddest Boy’ that showed images of used smartphones stolen from sellers.
Azeez admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and plotting to possess criminal property at Bolton Crown Court. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week and faces up to six years in prison.
Nine homeowners who allowed their addresses to be used as ‘drops’ in the scam will be sentenced next year as well.
After former Yodel delivery driver Azeez began providing, the scam took place between September 2020 and November 2021.