“This has had a huge impact on many victims"
Four men from Islington who defrauded elderly victims out of more than £400,000 in a courier fraud operation have been jailed.
The organised criminal gang pretended to be police officers in order to carry out the fraud.
The group ran its operations from various offices in London but targeted different parts of the country in more than 7,500 calls.
Once they had a victim engaged, the group would claim to be the police and explain that they were conducting an investigation into counterfeit currency which had been identified as being transferred through the victim’s bank accounts.
The victims were encouraged to withdraw money from their bank accounts and hand it over to a “courier” sent by the “police”.
The gang used others in the network to provide authenticity checks, pretending to be senior police officers or bank officials.
They would arrange for taxis to take the victims, who were often elderly, to their banks, in order to withdraw money.
Aware that banks have protocols to follow when dealing with elderly or vulnerable customers who were attempting to withdraw large amounts of cash, the gang emphasised that bank staff or local police may be involved in the counterfeit currency offences and coached the victims about what to say in response to questions.
Gloucestershire Constabulary began an investigation when staff at a bank in Cirencester called them over concerns an elderly customer wanted to withdraw thousands of pounds.
IT led police to the gang in London where they were put under surveillance for two weeks before being arrested following a rooftop chase in Camden.
The total value defrauded by the gang was £430,452.
At Bristol Crown Court, the four men pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.
Muhammed Rahman, aged 28, was jailed for six years.
Mohammed Hussain, aged 25, was jailed for five years and four months.
Mohammed Maarjan, aged 23, was jailed for four years and eight months.
Shoriful Islam, aged 25, was jailed for four years and eight months.
Two other members of the gang, Kawsar Ahmed and Mohemmed Ahmed, will be sentenced later in June 2022.
Kevin Hansford from the CPS said: “The fraudsters presented themselves in a convincing way to victims, securing the trust of hundreds of elderly people through their falsehoods.
“The sole purpose of the criminals was to enrich themselves, at the expense of vulnerable people who badly needed their hard-earned savings and pension income.
“I would like to thank the many victims who supported this prosecution and the hard-working Gloucestershire and Hertfordshire Police who enabled us to prove the case against this gang’s callous criminal enterprise.”
Detective Inspector Matt Phillips from Gloucestershire Police said:
“This sentence shows how seriously we take courier fraud.”
“It was the result of a lot of immense hard work from many officers at Gloucestershire Constabulary, who went above and beyond to ensure that we could show just how low these men were willing to stoop in order to defraud the vulnerable and elderly.
“I want any gangs who try to target the people in our communities to know that we will not sit back but will actively pursue them for their crimes, not just in Gloucestershire but anywhere in the country.
“This has had a huge impact on many victims who have not only seen a huge financial loss, but have been left with psychological damage resulting in some being too scared to answer the phone or even leave their house.
“I hope that this sentence will bring some peace to the men and women they targeted.”