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Pair paid bogus refunds to friends from TfL call centre

Two Boris bike workers who made bogus refund payments to friends totalling £42,000 have been jailed.

Nana Boateng and Jose Dias, both 26, worked in the cycle hire customer contact centre, where they authorised false refunds to seven friends. They made a guilty plea in March at Southwark Crown Court.

The refund payments are typically made to customers who are charged wrongly for their bike use; from a £1 charge when there is no paper in the machine to print a bike release code on, to a £300 charge for failing to dock a bike properly on its return.

Working in the north London contact centre, Dias paid out over £24,000 to friends over a two-day period, the Independent reported.

The scam began when the pair realised that TfL was not enforcing the rule that cash refunds had to be authorised by a manager, and began issuing them themselves, between September and December 2010.

Boateng was jailed for nine months, including one month for breaching an order for a separate offence, and Dias was sentenced to six months in jail.

Boateng’s barrister, Alexander Williams, called the crime ‘opportunistic’ and said that his client had only received around £8,000, of which he sent half to a sick aunt in Ghana.

Judge Alistair McCreath also handed out suspended prison sentences and community orders to the seven friends, who were convicted of money laundering offences.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.