Boris bike scammers jailed for £42,000 fraud
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.