Islington scammers jailed after preying on elderly victims
- Credit: Gloucestershire Constabulary
Four members of a gang who preyed on dozens of elderly victims, conning them out of nearly £300,000, have been jailed for more than 20 years.
Mohammed Rahman, Muhammed Maarjan, Muhammed Hussain and Shoriful Islam, all from Islington were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today (June 10).
All four had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.
Rahman, Maarjan and Islam had also admitted possessing criminal property.
Gloucestershire police said the gang had contacted hundreds of potential victims across the country by telephone, targeting one region at a time.
Once they had found a victim, they pretended to be police officers, patiently relaying a convincingly disturbing tale of a fraud investigation that had identified counterfeit currency being transferred into their bank accounts.
Victims were encouraged to remove thousands of pounds from their accounts immediately in order to hand it over to a “courier” sent by “the police”.
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In total, they conned at least 60 vulnerable victims out of more than £290,000, dating back to 2019, making around 7,000 more calls to potential victims between January and April 2021.
Most of the victims were over the age of 75, with two aged 99.
Some of them were terminally ill or had dementia and other age related issues. Many victims have been unable to recoup their loss.
Officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit worked closely with 20 other forces across the country including the City of London Police, which leads on courier fraud nationally after finding a victim in Cirencester.
A warrant was executed at a property in Theberton Street on April 6 2021.
Gang members tried to escape through an upstairs window, and were chased by police across rooftops, before the four Islington men were caught and arrested.
Officers seized cash, expensive designer clothing, Rolex watches, a Mercedes Benz and an Audi.
All four were jailed for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Rahman, 27, and of Leirum Street, was sentenced to six years and two years for possessing criminal property, to run concurrently.
Islam, 24, of Highbury New Park, was sentenced to four years and eight months and two years for possessing criminal property, to run concurrently.
Hussain, 24, and of Collier Street, was jailed for five years and four months.
Maarjan, 23, of James Morgan Mews, was sentenced to four years and eight months and two years for possessing criminal property, to run concurrently.
Sentencing the men, Judge Michael Cullum told them: “Each of you were fully aware of the scale of the operation you were involved in and you were additionally aware of the basis of the fraud, which was to prey on the trust of the elderly.
“The fraud depended upon recognising and exploiting the frailty of the elderly.
“You found them in the last years of their lives. They rightfully had trust in the banks. They also had trust in the police, and rightfully so.
“You took from these elderly victims so much more than money. They were told if they did not comply, they would lose their life savings, which is exactly what did happen.
“At least half of them have failed to be reimbursed by the banks, because they told lies at your behest. These were your lies.
“These victims were intelligent, retired professionals who would naturally wish to assist the authorities.
“They were severely embarrassed and distressed by the loss of their savings, saying that they felt stupid. They are not. They were conned.
“I have no doubt that the effect on them has been to irretrievably change the way they look at life and society. It is bound to affect them for the rest of their days.”
Det Insp Matt Phillips, said: “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.”
Kevin Hansford from the CPS, said: “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."
Kawsar Ahmed and Mohammed Ahmed, are due to be sentenced on June 28.