Leeds church leader is jailed for fraud

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A church leader has been jailed for his role in a sophisticated fraud operation in which unsuspecting victim’s bank accounts were targeted.

Police raided Charles Kanyimo’s family home and caught him trying to flush incriminating evidence down the toilet.

Officers seized counterfeit chequebooks and other forged documents along with five mobile phones.

The phones contained text messages and other details relating to bank account numbers and sort codes that were to be targeted.

Kanyimo, 40, was arrested and released on bail following the raid in May last year but continued to be involved in the criminal enterprise.

More forged items, mobile phones and other equipment were seized following another raid in October at his home on Gargrave Place, Lupset.

Kanyimo pleaded guilty to two offences of possessing articles for use in fraud. Kanyimo served a three-year sentence, imposed in 2009, for his role in a fraud worth one million pounds in which a group of men used stolen cheques to con cash from banks.

The court heard Kanyimo is an interfaith coordinator at a church based in Leeds. A letter of reference from a bishop was handed to the court. Kanyimo’s lawyer, Rob Casey, said the father-of-two became involved in crime as he had financial problems but wanted to look after his family.

Judge Christopher Batty jailed Kanyimo, a Zimbabwean national, for 15 months. He said: “The other side of you is that you are a fraudster, or at least someone who is prepared to play an important role in what is, sadly, an all too prevalent attack on our banking system.

“It is right to say that you were heavily in debt and that brought about your involvement.

“But there are other ways of dealing with debt and that doesn’t involve crime.”


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