Bank workers snare Nigerian fraudster

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A NIGERIAN fraudster was caught passing dodgy cheques in a bid to con £14,100 from bank staff, a court has heard.

Abiodun Agbaje, 25, was held after presenting a number of fraudulent financial certificates at Royal Bank of Scotland branches in the Scottish borders.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Agbaje, of Grays, Essex, was snared after workers grew suspicious about what she was doing.

The court heard how staff called police who arrested her after she visited Ayton, Berwickshire, on August 25 2011.

Depute procurator fiscal John Kirk told the court that Agbaje, a first offender had taken part in a “common” financial scam.

The court heard how crooks have set up fictitious companies in recent years in a bid to obtain business accounts and cheque books from unsuspecting financial institutions.

The criminals then write cheques to other individuals. Members of their gangs are then instructed to visit banks and put them into quick deposit boxes.

Mr Kirk said that because the individuals are presenting business cheques, the account of the person receiving the financial order is credited almost immediately.

The person receiving the cash then withdraws the money from their accounts within minutes of the credit being made.

The court heard that banks have became more aware of the racket and are now taking steps to prevent themselves from falling victim to the scam.

Mr Kirk said that on August 25 2011, Agbaje participated in criminal activity by taking a train from London to Berwick Upon Tweed.

Upon reaching the town, she visited RBS and deposited a cheque there before taking a taxi to do the same at the RBS branch in nearby Eyemouth.

However, staff at the Berwick Upon Tweed branch spotted Agbaje and rumbled what she was doing - they then notified colleagues in surrounding towns and contacted the police.

Officers then arrested her in Ayton and discovered that she was trying to con the financial institution out of £14,100.

The court heard that police arrested her before she could withdraw the money.

Mr Kirk added: “This was a scam that was doomed to fail from the very beginning. The accused took the train from London and got off at Berwick Upon Tweed.

“She presented a business cheque at the Royal Bank of Scotland branch. Staff there grew quite suspicious - it is quite a small community and staff there know their business customers.

“They e-mailed colleagues at other branches who took action.

“Agbaje was then observed visiting other banks and depositing cheques using the quick deposit boxes at the branches.

“Police later apprehended the accused.”

Agbaje pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud before Sheriff Derrick McIntyre.

She originally faced allegations that she also visited RBS branches in Duns and Melrose in a bid to fraudulently obtain £28,200.

However, the prosecution agreed to drop these allegations in return for a guilty plea.

Sheriff McIntyre deferred sentence on Agbaje until July 24, 2012, in order for the court to obtain reports.