"the debt he owes to society will remain with him for life"
Feezan Hameed Choudhary, aged 28, was responsible for a huge cyber scam in the UK. He has now been ordered to compensate his victims or face more jail time.
He received a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act which stated that he must pay £2 million within three months or face a further eight years in prison.
Choudhary was jailed in 2016 for 11 years for a scam that conned 750 RBS and Lloyds customers out of £113 million.
Police forces gathered evidence to prosecute Choudhary. West Yorkshire Police gathered significant evidence surrounding money laundering.
Choudhary, formerly of Glasgow, was nicknamed “The Voice” by police because put on various accents when he cold-called customers and posed as a bogus official from their banks.
Funds from the victims’ bank accounts were stolen and moved to another account. It was then distributed across a number of other accounts before the money with withdrawn by “money mules”.
Actual bank phone numbers were used to confuse victims, due to someone on the inside.
Choudhary was identified following police raids in Glasgow and the West Midlands. He was caught trying to get on a flight to Pakistan with a fake passport in November 2015.
He was extradited to the UK to face justice where he admitted conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder money.
After a confiscation hearing in May 2019 at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Peter Testar found Choudhary made £6.5 million in profit from the cyber scam.
He was also responsible for conning victims out of £19.1 million between January 2013 and October 2015. The unrecovered loss was £14.9 million.
It was heard Choudhary spent the money on expensive vehicles and having car cleaners flown in from Lahore to polish his cars.
He also spent £3 million on shopping trips to Harrods and booked a singer to perform at one of his parties.
Judge Testar said that only a portion of the money could be confiscated, despite saying that he did not believe Choudhary’s claims that he has no money stored overseas and spent the rest on a lavish lifestyle.
On May 10, 2019, Choudhary heard that he must pay the money or face more time in prison in addition to his current sentence.
In a statement, Ramona Senior, head of the West Yorkshire Police Economic Crime Unit, said:
“The order made today will be robustly enforced and if Hameed fails to pay this order he will face a further eight years in prison and the debt he owes to society will remain with him for life until paid in full.”
“Hameed’s case is typical of the sort of case that we investigate.
“We often find that criminals are prepared to serve their time in jail but hate having their ill-gotten gains taken from them.”
Judge Testar explained that he accepted Choudhary had lost a lot of money gambling and spending it on nightclubs and prostitutes.
He also hired expensive cars such as Bentley, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce, however, the judge rejected the claims that he had no money left.
In his written decision, Judge Testar said:
“It is suggested that the evidence tends to suggest that as he obtained money by fraud he went out and spent it until he ran out and that he then committed another fraud.
“I am not satisfied this is what happened.
“I am satisfied that he has not spent all of that money and that the likelihood is that he has not accounted for all his wealth.
Law 360 reported that Judge Testar maintained that a “just and proportionate figure” is the sum left by deducting the amount Choudhary claims he spent from the profit he made.
Choudhary has three months to pay £2 million following the confiscation order.