Memory Chirwa, aged 33, and her partner Raymond Makudza, aged 38, were both immediately sentenced to four year imprisonment.
A two and a half year investigation by North Yorkshire Police’s Serious Crime Team found that Chirwa and Makudza’s criminal activity led them to defrauding businesses across the UK out of a total of £300,000.
The pair targeted charities as well as commercial businesses with a series of mandate fraud.
Mandate fraud is when someone gets you to change a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate, by purporting to be an organisation you make regular payments to, for example a subscription or membership organisation or your business supplier.
Detective Inspector Steve Menzies of the North Yorkshire Police’s Serious Crime Team said: I am pleased with today’s result in court. This was an extremely complex and lengthy investigation into serious fraud and money laundering which saw business and charities suffer significant financial loss at the hand of these fraudsters.
Memory Chirwa and her partner Raymond Makudza led a ‘champagne lifestyle’ around Harrogate without the legitimate means to do so.
I am satisfied they have been brought to justice and I praise my colleagues in the Serious Crime Team and our Financial Investigation Department. Their professionalism, dedication and sheer tenacity in investigating these crimes have resulted in Chirwa and Makudza being where they belong, behind bars, and has also prevented substantial financial loss for other businesses across the country.