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Organised criminal gang jailed for impersonating police officers to defraud victims of over £400,000

|News, Fraud and economic crime

An organised criminal gang who pretended to be police officers and preyed on elderly victims in a fraud involving more than £400,000 were jailed today (10 June 2022).

Muhammed Rahman, 28, Shoriful Islam, 25, Mohammed Hussain, 25, Mohammed Maarjan, 23, were sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court to a total of 21 years imprisonment for courier fraud offences. They had previously pleaded guilty to these offences on 06 August 2021 and 10 November 2021, after Gloucestershire Police and the CPS Specialist Fraud Division brought a strong case to court.

The organised criminal gang ran its operations from various offices in London but targeted different parts of the country in more than 7,500 calls. Once they had a victim engaged, the defendants would claim to be the police and explain they were conducting a fraud investigation into counterfeit currency which had been identified being transferred through the victim’s bank accounts. The defendants would encourage the victims remove money from their bank accounts and hand it over to a “courier” sent by the “police”. The gang used others in the network to provide authenticity checks, pretending to be senior police officers or bank officials. They would arrange for taxis to take the often elderly victims to their banks, in order to withdraw money.

Aware that banks have protocols to follow when dealing with elderly or vulnerable customers who were attempting to withdraw large amounts of cash, the gang emphasised that bank staff or local police may be involved in the counterfeit currency offences and coached the victims about what to say in response to questions. The total value defrauded by the gang was £430,452.

Kevin Hansford from the CPS said: “The fraudsters presented themselves in a convincing way to victims, securing the trust of hundreds of elderly people through their falsehoods. The sole purpose of the criminals was to enrich themselves, at the expense of vulnerable people who badly needed their hard-earned savings and pension income.

“I would like to thank the many victims who supported this prosecution and the hard-working Gloucestershire and Hertfordshire Police who enabled us to prove the case against this gang’s callous criminal enterprise.”

Detective Inspector Matt Phillips from Gloucestershire Police said: “This sentence shows how seriously we take courier fraud.

“It was the result of a lot of immense hard work from many officers at Gloucestershire Constabulary, who went above and beyond to ensure that we could show just how low these men were willing to stoop in order to defraud the vulnerable and elderly.

“I want any gangs who try to target the people in our communities to know that we will not sit back but will actively pursue them for their crimes, not just in Gloucestershire but anywhere in the country.

“This has had a huge impact on many victims who have not only seen a huge financial loss, but have been left with psychological damage resulting in some being too scared to answer the phone or even leave their house.

“I hope that this sentence will bring some peace to the men and women they targeted.”

In the UK, in the last year, more than £10 million pounds have been lost to courier frauds of this kind.

It is important to remember that your bank or police will never call you to verify personal banking details. They will also never offer to pick up your money or debit or credit card by courier. If you need to call your bank back to check, only do so after waiting at least five minutes. Even though you have hung up, the fraudsters may stay on the line to pretend to be your bank. If you can, use a different phone line to call your bank. You should never give control of your debit or credit card to a stranger. Remember to only ever hand a credit or debit card over to a bank official at your bank. If the card is cancelled, you should destroy it yourself.

The CPS works closely with investigators to deliver effective prosecutions against all fraud types, bringing cases to court once there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.

Notes to editors

  • Kevin Hansford is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS Serious Economic Organised and International Directorate (SEOCID).
  • SEOCID was launched on 1 April 2022 and is the CPS response to the changing nature of crime by bringing together specialists in organised and economic crime as the lines in this criminality is being blurred even more.
  • Muhammed Rahman (DOB: 28/02/94) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering and was sentenced to six years imprisonment at Gloucester Crown Court.
  • Shoriful Islam (DOB: 04/07/1996) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering and was sentenced to four years and eight months imprisonment at Gloucester Crown Court.
  • Mohammed Hussain (DOB: 12/01/1997) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and sentenced to five years and four months imprisonment at Gloucester Crown Court.
  • Mohammed Maarjan (DOB: 24/07/1998) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering and was sentenced to four years and eight months at Gloucester Crown Court.
     

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