Six men were jailed on Friday, September 21 for a total of 27 and a half years in connection with a £330,000 courier fraud series that targeted elderly victims across Hertfordshire.
Two of the offences occurred in Hemel Hempstead, and one in Berkhamsted.
Between March 1, 2016 and November 29, 2016, a total of 34 offences were reported to police. In the majority of cases, elderly victims were contacted by members of the group who claimed to be from the police, stating they were investigating fraudulent activity on their bank accounts.
The callers asked the victims to withdraw large sums of money under the pretence it was part of their enquiries. The cash was either collected from the victims by a courier or transferred to the account of a financial mule.
The total financial loss to those involved was £215,641 with unsuccessful attempts to scam a further £122,445 - totalling £328,086.
An investigation was carried out by detectives from Hertfordshire Constabulary, which culminated in a series of warrants being executed in November 2016 and arrests being made.
Following a five-week trial at St Albans Crown Court, nine men were found guilty on August 7.
Four men were found to have organised the conspiracy, contacted victims and/or controlled the couriers:
Sheikh Hussain, aged 24, from Great Russell Street, London, was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Nahid Uddin, aged 24, from Charlton Street, London, was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Masum Uddin, aged 23, from Orde Hall Street, London, was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Mohammed Abdul Khaled aged 24, from Portpool Lane, London, was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud.
The following acted as couriers:
Mohammed Abdulahi, aged 22, from Cumberland Market, London, was sentenced to 6 years and 6 months imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Mushahid Miah, aged 24, from Ampthill Square, London, was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud.
The following arranged the transfer of criminal property:
Dedar Ali, aged 24, from Cressfield Close, London, was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment (suspended) for money laundering.
Abdul Basit Khan, aged 26, from Calverton Road, Luton, was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment (suspended) and 120 hours of unpaid work for money laundering.
Abdalla Abdalla, aged 27, from Piper Close, London, was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment (suspended) and 120 hours of unpaid work for money laundering.
Detective Constable Julian Griffiths, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit said: “These men callously targeted elderly and vulnerable victims and defrauded them out of their life savings.
“I am pleased that they are now behind bars and I hope it brings some small comfort to the victims and their families who have been left devastated by the actions of these men.”
DC Griffiths, who was commended by the judge for his investigation, continued: “We have done a lot of work to raise awareness of these scams but we need people to continue spreading the word to friends, relatives and neighbours to help prevent more people falling victim to them.
“Please remember that the police and banks would never ask for your PIN over the phone and would never ask you to withdraw cash and hand it to a courier. If you receive a call you are suspicious of, please hang up and alert the police. Remember to wait at least five minutes, or use a mobile phone to ensure you aren’t reconnected to the offender.”
Anyone who thinks they may have been targeted should report it to police via the non-emergency number 101.