Offenders who hunted down innocent victim in fraud brought to justice | New

Three men were sentenced at York Crown Court today after targeting an elderly and vulnerable pensioner in the Scarborough area and trying to swindle him £ 16,750 for alleged work on his property.

Even when construction company staff challenged them, the gang produced false documents in an attempt to justify their bills.

The case arose out of an investigation launched in December 2019, when a relative was present in the victim’s home as the men called him to ask for money.

She reported the incident to the police, who referred the matter to Operation Gauntlet, the multi-agency backup team housed in our business standards.

Handwritten notes were found in the victim’s house, including the name “Mohammed Fiaz” and the bank details of Ahmed Motara. The notes also referred to the “roof” and the “camera”, but no work undertaken by the men could be identified on the property.

The victim was stalked by violators with demands for payment, with 37 calls made to her landline number.

The calls were all made from Shuraih Bham’s cell phone. Evidence obtained during the investigation also showed that the three men were in regular contact, especially at the time of the victim appeals. They had also visited the victim at his home, once at 9 a.m. on a December evening.

The vigilance of Nationwide and Skipton construction companies prevented the fraud, which could have cost the victim £ 16,750.

Mohammed Fiaz was a Nationwide client and the first two checks paid by the victim were £ 4,950 and £ 2,800.

The Nationwide suspected fraud and stopped cashing the checks. They asked Fiaz to produce proof that he was entitled to the money.

Fiaz then sent a bogus letter from the victim to Nationwide, which stated that he was happy with the work and the price paid.

The letter had been provided by Bham. In addition, Fiaz sent a fake receipt for the latest check for £ 9,000, claiming six windows and two doors replaced, 24 meters of fascia, soffits and gutters installed, roof repair work, gardening work, interior work and patio work. had been undertaken. These claims were false.

The Skipton Building Society also blocked payment of the final £ 9,000 into the victim’s account, after its financial investigation team suspected fraud and ensured liaison with Nationwide.

Bham and Fiaz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and Motara to attempted money laundering.

His Honor Judge Morris sentenced the three men today, as follows:

  • Shuraih Bham, 33, of Ivywood Court, Bradford, was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
  • Mohammed Fiaz Askar, 39, of 96 Cumberland Road, Bradford, was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
  • Ahmed Motara, 23, of Furlong Road, Gloucester, was sentenced to 11 months in prison, one year suspended sentence and 300 hours of unpaid work.

Condemning Bham and Fiaz Askar, The Recorder of York, His Honor Judge Morris said: “People in the twilight of their years have a right to have their time passed in peace and dignity and not to be ripped off by a few. thieves like you. “

He added to Bham: “You have met and cheated on this vulnerable gentleman. But thanks to Nationwide’s laudable vigilance he was spotted and they are to be commended. Fortunately, the checks were never cashed.

Speaking after the case, County Councilor Derek Bastiman, executive member of Trading Standards, said: “It was a horrendous case where a very old man with memory problems was stalked by these defendants for several weeks. , with repeated requests for money. These defendants represent the lowest of lows and their behavior will shock ordinary and law-abiding residents.

“Unfortunately, however, this is behavior that we see too often in North Yorkshire and that we are committed to combating in this way, to protect our most vulnerable residents.

“This case should serve as a warning to those in a position to protect vulnerable residents, such as building societies in this case, but also friends, family and neighbors, as well as to those who might consider come to our county to offend in this way, you will be brought to justice.

Ed Fisher, Fraud Officer at Nationwide Building Society, added, “Every day our members tell us about the devastating impact of being the victim of a scam like this. Besides the financial impact, scams targeting someone in their own home can leave a lasting emotional impact. But we want scams like this to be avoided for everyone and we are happy that we were able to identify suspicious activity by one of our account holders and help prevent them from succeeding.

“We work closely with a range of organizations in various industries to try and prevent any scams we suspect and will always support prosecutions against anyone with criminal intent. We work around the clock to prevent scams, as well as providing education that is accessible to the public, which can also help people know how to spot a scam and what steps they can take to protect themselves.

Ian Walker, Head of Financial Crime at Skipton Building Society, said: “We are very pleased with this outcome and hope it sends the message that companies like ours will work tirelessly to protect our clients from fraud and help. any effort to bring fraudsters to justice. . We would also like to highlight the hard work done by Trading Standards when a problem is identified and the effort they put into achieving today’s result.

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