Fraudster jailed - Watford

08/07/2013

A team of international fraudsters hoodwinked a company in Germany into paying over £54,000 into a bank in this country. The company thought they were buying heavy industrial machinery. In reality, it didn't exist.

But, within hours of the money being paid into the Barclays Bank account, thousands was withdrawn by Romanian Constantin Poiana.  After going from branch to branch withdrawing sums of cash for the fraudsters, he was finally caught after visiting a bank in Watford.

Today, Monday, 08 July 2013, Poiana, 37, a married man of Chatworth Avenue in Wembley, appeared at St Albans Crown Court and pleaded guilty to possessing an identity document with improper intent and converting criminal property - the £30,000 he withdrew in March of this year.

Alison Ginn prosecuting told the court how the fraudsters had set up a bogus internet site purporting to represent a Hungarian company called PEC Global and selling heavy industrial machinery.

She said a company based in Germany called H. Heseman GMBH thought the site was legitimate enough to place an order and was instructed via the site to pay the money into a bank account in the UK.  Infact that account had been set up by the fraudsters at a north London Branch of Barclays by someone.

The court was told there was nothing to suggest that Poiana had been involved in the setting up of the internet site or the bank account.  But he had a significant role to play when, over 04 March and 05 March this year, he made withdrawals totalling £30,000 from branches of the bank.  He was able to do so with the aid of false documents and ID, but he was to come unstuck when Herts police officers stopped him in Watford town centre with an Italian ID card on him and which bore his photograph.  He also had on him £3000.

The court heard that the German company had paid £54,692 into the fraudsters bank account on 04 March and, in two days, £30,000 had been withdrawn.

The court was told that until his arrest Poiana, who worked building extensions and earning earning £100 a day, was a man of good character.  He was to tell police he and his wife had come to the UK six years earlier in search of a better life.

In court it was said Poiana had been "doing the bidding of others" who had organised the fraud.

Passing sentence Judge Andrew Bright QC told Poiana: "It was a highly sophisticated and cleverly operated fraud."  He jailed him for 14 months.

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