Man jailed for £84k scam

A SHEFFIELD man has been jailed for a year after he helped a conman siphon £500,000 in stolen cash into his bank account.

Stephen Davies, aged 23, of St Barnabas Road, Highfield, laundered 84,000 from victim Jonathan Clague, whose account was hacked by crook Obi Okoli.

Davies was hoodwinked by Okoli, who told him he could get him a job as a PA before using his payment details to transfer the proceeds of the scam.

Southwark Crown Court heard Davies was one of five people who allowed 27-year-old Okoli to transfer money into their bank accounts between July 2007 and September 2008. The others were songwriter and aspiring model Julian Burnett, aged 25, Nadine Wright, 30, Shaneeka Bartlett, 21 and Lydia Taylor, 28.

Okoli, from Battersea in London, was jailed for three years and Burnett will serve 15 months.

Wright, Bartlett and Taylor received suspended sentences after pleading guilty at the first opportunity.

Burnett was also conned by Okoli, who claimed he could advance his modelling career and would set up a photoshoot for him.

Davies and Burnett were due to stand trial next month, but changed their pleas and admitted entering into a money laundering arrangement.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Pitts said: "It is sad to see young people of good character before the court on serious money laundering offences.

"Of course, I give you credit for the guilty pleas some weeks before trial.

He added: "I have come to the conclusion, sadly, that the custodial sentence I must pass must be an immediate one."