One of the accounts had almost £100,000 deposited into it
A fraudster who posed as a bank worker to con an elderly couple suffering dementia out of their home and life savings has been told to pay back more than £300,000 or face a further three years in prison.
Syed Bukhari, aged 38, formerly of Oswaldtwistle, targeted an 81-year-old woman and her 80-year-old husband by posing as a bank worker.
After scamming them out of their assets, the fraudster used their money for luxury trips, including one occasion where he spent almost £11,000 on a hotel stay in Dubai.
During his trips, Bukhari spent tens of thousands of pounds on Rolex watches, jewellery, designer clothes, bags, phones and a cosmetic procedure to have a wig fitted.
In February 2018, upon his return to the UK from a trip, he was arrested. After pleading guilty to fraud, Bukhari was jailed for seven years and 11 months.
His sentence came as a result of an investigation after it was found that a house belonging to the couple had been sold without their knowledge.
Enquiries also revealed that numerous bank accounts and credit cards had been taken out in their name.
Bukhari had withdrawn from their existing accounts and stole around £150,000 of their life savings whilst pretending to be their son or a bank employee helping them.
Within weeks, 10 different bank accounts and credit cards in the victim’s names had been opened fraudulently via online applications.
One of the accounts had almost £100,000 deposited into it, which was later found to be from savings and investments belonging to the couple.
The bank froze the account after becoming suspicious.
After he was unable to access it, Bukhari began making multiple calls to the bank claiming to be the son, questioning why the account was blocked stating his father would be attending the Blackpool branch to resolve the problem.
At a proceeds of crime hearing at Preston Crown Court, the fraudster was told he must pay back £307,759 of the £561,058 he made from the scam within three months, or face another three years in prison.
Nomi Lillystone, from the Economic Crime Unit, said:
“Bukhari has shown no remorse throughout this investigation and had instead sought to prolong proceedings for as long as he could.”
“Lancashire Constabulary will proactively and robustly target those who seek to exploit the most vulnerable in society and hopefully the conclusion of this case will provide some form of closure for Bukhari’s victims and their family
“If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of something similar, please report it to us or Action Fraud on 0800 123 2040.
“Anyone who feels a registered property could be at risk from fraud can sign up to the award-winning free property monitoring service at https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/.”