Fraudsters jailed for tricking elderly and vulnerable victims in Kent
Hamza Ali and Dujuane Mezu were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday 11 June 2018, following a number of courier frauds committed across the county between 1 June and 2 November 2017.
Courier fraud is the name given to incidents where fraudsters attempt to trick victims into withdrawing sums of money with the intention of sending a courier to collect it from them.
Hamza Ali, 23, of Gladstone Park Gardens, London, was jailed for five years after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud.
His offending came to light after officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate were alerted to a scam he carried out in Sittingbourne against a woman in her 70s on 23 October 2017.
Ali phoned the victim, claiming to be a police officer from the Metropolitan Police.
He told her to place her belongings, approximately £20,000 worth of jewellery and her debit card, in a plastic bag and leave it outside her door for an officer to collect.
A few days later the victim received another call from Ali to authorise two payments as part of the investigation, but Ali was actually inside a shop attempting to buy trainers.
He was later arrested at Luton airport by officers from Kent Police after taking a friend on an all-expenses paid trip to Italy.
Police officers will never ask a member of the public to withdraw cash or send a courier to collect money or items from them.
Dujuane Mezu, 20, of Grosvenor Avenue, London, was sentenced to a year in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud. He also received an extra five months for beaching a suspended sentence for a previous offence.
Mezu was arrested on 3 October 2017 after acting as a courier to collect money from a victim targeted in Sittingbourne.
The woman in her 80s was called by someone claiming to be an officer from New Scotland Yard, who said there was an issue with her bank.
Believing this was a scam, the victim visited Sittingbourne police station. Officers accompanied her back to her house and arrested Mezu when he arrived at the property.
He admitted to attending three addresses across Kent and on each occasion he would tell the victim he was there to collect money on behalf of the police.
Katie Samways, from the CPS, said: "Tackling crimes against the elderly is one of the CPS’ priorities in the South East.
"Specifically targeting elderly victims is deplorable. Hamza Ali was part of a group of individuals who assumed that their victims’ perceived vulnerabilities would make them more susceptible to their crimes.
"Due to the 26 victims coming forward to give evidence against him and others, and a thorough investigation by Kent Police, we were able to put together a strong case to present to the jury. Ultimately this resulted in his and others’ guilty pleas.
"Most significantly, footage of Ali making a similar fraudulent telephone call was discovered, and that, combined with telephone and banking evidence, made for a compelling case against him."
Detective Inspector Annie Clayton said: "These men preyed on elderly people for their own financial gain. They each played a key part in pursuing and defrauding a number of vulnerable people across Kent.
"They showed no remorse for their involvement or the effect their actions had. The impact this type of crime has on victims is significant, often leaving them devastated by their financial loss.
"I hope that those targeted by Ali and Mezu can now take comfort in the knowledge that these men have been sentenced and brought to justice."
Notes to editors
- Katie Samways is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS South East