"plausible tactics used by the fraudsters to steal her money."
Stoke-on-Trent based Muhammed Yakoob, aged 36, was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Leeds Crown Court after stealing £400,000 from an elderly woman.
Yakoob was part of a gang who was able to convince the victim that her bank account was under attack from conmen.
The court heard that the group made a number of phone calls to the woman, claiming to be from her bank.
Not only did they have her personal details, but they also knew where she had banked over the years.
They convinced her that her bank account was at risk of an attack from a rogue member of her bank’s staff. They persuaded her that the Financial Conduct Authority and the police are investigating.
The fraudsters said that they opened several new ‘safe’ accounts in her name at other banks and that she needed to transfer her money into them.
In actual fact, they were ‘mule’ bank accounts set up by the gang which could not be traced to themselves.
Over three weeks, the elderly woman received several calls stating that her account was at risk and provided with various instructions to transfer the cash.
The group even persuaded her to download a computer app, giving them remote access and told her they could use it to check for computer viruses.
The gang used it to remotely apply online for a £25,000 bank loan in the woman’s name.
One of the accounts had been created by Yakoob, who used a fake identity.
He used it to rent a bedsit address in Crewe, then to purchase a company called Glamco Ltd and then to apply online for a fictitious company bank account.
A total of £125,000 of the victim’s savings was paid into Yakoob’s Glamco account. From there, the money was transferred to a number of ‘mule’ accounts.
When the incident came to light, the fraudsters had stolen the woman’s entire savings, approximately £400,000.
An investigation discovered that Yakoob held two passports and driving licences, one in his real name and one in his alias.
Yakoob was identified through CCTV at the bank where he handed over documents in his other name.
At the time of the incident, Yakoob was a post-graduate student in accounting and computer science. He admitted money laundering and identity fraud.
Detective Constable Ian Sharp, of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud Investigation Team, said:
“The victim, in this case, was an astute, educated, professional who was convinced by the conniving, plausible tactics used by the fraudsters to steal her money.
“She has been devasted by this event.
“The overwhelming impact seems to her similar to the experience of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“I hope she takes some comfort knowing that Yakoob is now behind bars and that the fault lies solely with these disgraceful criminals who took advantage of her trustworthy nature.
“Yakoob was part of a wider group of fraudsters involved in this case who will be prosecuted should any further evidence come to light.”
Muhammed Yakoob was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.