|Chiswick Woman's Extravagant Lifestyle Was Funded By Fraud|
Sara Yadav and her partner ordered to hand back over £1 million in assets
A Chiswick woman and her partner have been ordered to hand over more than a million pounds in assets after a judge determined that they were the proceeds of frauds.
40-year-old Sara Yadav of Cranbrook Road along with her partner of 21 years, 42-year-old Ayodele Oluseye Odewale, have been told they give £1,011,431 to the National Crime Agency (NCA) at the High Court this Tuesday (9 July) under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
This follows a civil recovery investigation into Odewale, who was a convicted fraudster and Yadav, who both led extravagant lifestyles despite their combined declared annual income never exceeding £49,000. The high spending continued even after Odewale fled the country in 2016.
The rent on Yadav’s Chiswick home alone is nearly £42,000 per year – more than her annual income. In the last three years they have owned expensive cars including a Porsche Carrera, two Mercedes, and Yadav currently drives a Audi RS4 which when new is worth around £60,000. She wore a gold Rolex to the hearing in which the judge made the confiscation order
The couple also sent their three children to a private school which costs £37,000 per year. They also enjoyed frequent luxury holidays in India, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Cape Verde and Turkey.
NCA investigators found that the couple had hundreds of thousands of pounds passing through their bank accounts annually, despite Odewale not having had any legitimate employment earnings since his release from prison in 2005, and far in excess of Yadav’s salary as an operations manager at Imperial College. The investigators described one of Odewale’s explanations that he made “hundreds of thousands of pounds” to fund his lifestyle at betting shop fixed odd terminals as “inherently unlikely”.
The NCA recovered £797,431 from their bank accounts; three Patek Philippe watches valued at £199,000; and a private car registration plate worth £15,000.
Odewale had previously been found guilty of a number dishonesty offences between 1998 and 2016 from which he is believed to have made millions. He typically targeted people living in wealthy areas, researching their details through public records and fraudulently applying for credit cards in their names, which he used to withdraw cash.
He is also believed to have impersonated some of his victims in phone calls to their banks, ordered and intercepted replacement debit cards, which he then used to purchase high value items such as watches. These watches were then traded and sold with the proceeds being laundered through bank accounts belonging to Odewale and Yadav.
Yadav and Odewale also bought properties in Westbourne Terrace, London and Conwy Drive, Liverpool respectively, with significant deposits involved on each. These properties were subsequently sold in what the NCA believed was an attempt to launder the proceeds of Odewale’s criminal activities.
Odewale gave evidence to the High Court via video from Nigeria, as he is subject to a deportation order and cannot return to the UK. The High Court Judge who heard the case found he showed “little concern for the victims of the fraud” and offered “bare (often angry) denials” to questions put to him by the NCA’s barrister.
Yadav, who remained in the UK when Odewale left for Nigeria, was also found by the High Court judge Mrs Justice McGowan to have knowingly benefited from assets gained through unlawful conduct. The judge stated that Yadav “dishonestly chose to turn a blind eye to the illegitimacy of those funds” and enjoyed the luxuries it provided noting, for example, the gold Rolex she wore to the hearing.
The NCA’s civil recovery investigators started the investigation in December 2016, and analysed 12,000 financial transactions between 2010 and 2016.
Andy Lewis, head of Asset Denial at the NCA, said, “Odewale and Yadav had extravagant lifestyles funded from stealing the identities of honest, law abiding citizens. We have recovered their assets so they see no benefit from their unlawful activity.
“We are pleased our commitment to this investigation has paid off, having worked closely with partners including the Metropolitan Police and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit.
“We will continue our work to identify those linked to economic crime, and take away their illicit assets.”
The High Court ordered that one of the watches and £140,759, which could be traced back to two specific frauds, be handed to NatWest Bank to replace money used to compensate two of their customers.
July 14, 2020