Slavery boss who exploited vulnerable teenage girls found dead in jail
- Credit: PA / Metropolitan Police
An east Cambridgeshire man who headed an organised crime group that recruited, trafficked and exploited vulnerable teenage girls has been found dead in prison.
Isaiah Olugosi, of Lower Road, Wicken, was discovered dead in HMP Wormwood Scrubs in west London on Monday (March 28).
The 38-year-old trained trafficked girls to commit refund fraud in high street stores using fake receipts from his £450,000 home near Ely.
Over 30 victims of exploitation were identified and £500,000 in profits were seized as part of the investigation.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: “HMP Wormwood Scrubs prisoner Isaiah Olugosi died in his cell on March 28.
“The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”
In May 2021, Olugosi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of children for the purposes of exploitation at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
He also admitted two counts of conspiracy to defraud; concealing/converting/transferring criminal property (money laundering) and possession of articles for use in fraud.
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His wife Holly Olugosi (nee Chapman), 31, also of Lower Road, Ely, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to concealing/converting/transferring criminal property (money laundering).
The court heard that between January 2018 and March 2020, Isiah Olugosi orchestrated a large-scale fraud enterprise targeting branches of two established retailers across the UK.
Isaiah Olugosi lived with his wife Holly and from at least January 2018, began making money for himself and his family by targeting two retailers using fraudulent receipts and printed barcodes produced at his home.
Bank data shows proceeds of crime entering the accounts as far back as 2013.
The operation was too large for one person to control alone and Olugosi quickly began to build up a network of trusted associates.
These included ‘team leaders’ and ‘drivers’ who were willing to partake in this criminal enterprise across the country.
Olugosi’s appointed ‘team leaders’ were Eva Dambrauskaite and Baran Karamagara.
Both were tasked with recruiting and managing vulnerable young girls, typically aged 14 to 17 years old, in order for them to carry out theft and fraud on behalf of the organised crime group.
Girls were recruited via social media platforms, and approached on the street, mainly from Greater London and Essex.
Officers identified over 30 victims of exploitation.
Many of the victims were recruited whilst housed in foster placements or semi-independent supported facilities.
And some had frequently been reported missing by their families.
The ‘team leaders’ would trick or coerce the girls into joining their criminal enterprise.
Olugosi and his ‘drivers’ would transport them across the UK via pre-planned routes to target branches of each retailer.
The girls would often be missing for several days, committing fraud during the day and being housed in hotels each night.
In the early part of the conspiracy Isaiah Olugosi would personally drive the victims around.
He would tell them what items to obtain, which fraud technique to use, and which branches to target.
As time went on, and with Dambrauskaite and Karamagara acting as his trusted ‘drivers’, Olugosi was able to do less of the leg work.
A typical day would include theft and fraud from over ten stores, making thousands of pounds per ‘route’ for the gang.
The funds gained were then laundered through at least one hundred UK bank accounts.
Isaiah Olugosi, Karamagara and Dambrausakite took control of these accounts, in many instances from children or adults with mental health problems and other vulnerabilities.
To evade authorities, mobile phones and vehicles were registered at addresses of adults known to have mental health problems or severe learning difficulties.
By March 2020, the group had yielded approximately £500,000 in profits as a result of their large-scale fraud conspiracy.
Over the course of her husband’s highly profitable criminal enterprise, Holly Olugosi spent large sums of money on luxury items.
These included cosmetic surgery, tanning sessions, a new Mercedes, luxury holidays, and even a fridge costing £2,500.
The Met realised the information about the girls was linked to offences highlighted by retailers who had been targeted.
Fraud investigators noticed a pattern of young girls securing refunds with fraudulent receipts and noted safeguarding concerns around these children.
Beginning in March 2020, Predatory Offender Unit officers executed a number of search warrants in London, Essex and Cambridge.
They seized evidence including printers, computer equipment, fake receipts, bar codes, cash and devices used to communicate with the girls.
Upon searching the Olugosi home in Wicken, it became apparent that Holly Olugosi had attempted to conceal several pieces of evidence prior to returning to their home where officers were present and searching.
Karamagara and Dambrauskaite were arrested at addresses in Essex and Tottenham on March 16, 2020.
Isaiah Olugosi was arrested at an address in Ilford on March 17, 2020.
Holly Olugosi was interviewed under caution at a police station in Cambridgeshire on June 17, 2020.
Following advice and agreement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a second phase of arrests were organised.
This led to the questioning and charging of Isaiah Olugosi, Dambrauskaite and Karamagara with offences under the Modern Slavery Act.
On August 26, 2020, Dambrauskaite and Karamagara were re-arrested, questioned, charged and remanded.
Sergeant PJ Jones, officer in the case from the Met’s Predatory Offender Unit, said: “This is a serious case involving the criminal exploitation of a large number of juvenile girls spanning many years.
“Olugosi and others were too cowardly to execute their own crimes, and actively recruited girls with obvious vulnerabilities.
“They embedded themselves through peer groups of vulnerable people using them to commit fraud and using their accounts to launder money.
“This was a protracted investigation which involved countless enquiries, witness statements and searches of premises to secure evidence from offences as widely spread as Glasgow and Devon.
“Throughout the proceedings, all of the suspects in this case did everything they could to conceal evidence, minimise their own involvement and delay justice.
“I am thankful to the staff from both retailers for highlighting this case as a safeguarding concern from the outset, voicing concerns about the ages of the girls involved.
“Without the bravery of all of the victims and witnesses in this case, the enterprise would never have been unearthed and I wish to thank them all for their trust.
“The Metropolitan Police Service has officers dedicated to confront those targeting vulnerable people and continue to work closely with partners to tackle Modern Slavery and exploitation.”
Marie Olo, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “Isaiah Olugosi recruited, coached and transported teenage girls around the country to commit refund fraud in High Street stores.
“The girls were selected because they were vulnerable with difficult backgrounds or mental health problems, and when they were caught, he was perfectly willing to step back and let them face arrest and potential prosecution.
“When he learned the police had discovered his involvement, he tried desperately but unsuccessfully to destroy evidence and hide money.
“Exploiting others for criminal gain is a serious criminal offence and wherever possible the CPS will work with police to help victims escape the clutches of modern slavery, while prosecuting the people who have pulled the strings.”