"The financial damage was catastrophic."
Mohammed Arshad Ajmal, aged 40, of Ilford, London, has been ordered to pay back nearly £1 million after swindling an elderly couple out of their life savings.
Ajmal was first sentenced to eight years in prison at Bournemouth Crown Court, on July 31 2020.
Ajmal admitted to seven charges of fraud by false representation and 14 offences of converting and transferring criminal property.
He then returned to the same court on Friday, November 5, 2021, for a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing.
Ajmal had been charged in connection with what was referred to as a ‘sophisticated and elaborate’ phone scam during the court proceedings.
He had posed as a policeman to steal £845,000 from the pensioners, both in their 70s, leaving them with just £187 in their savings account.
They were then forced to sell their BMW to give them access to some emergency cash.
However, since their actions breached tax laws, the pair were also hit with a massive £124,000 income tax bill.
The court heard that the victims were first contacted by Ajmal on August 15, 2019.
He claimed that he was ‘DS Richard Clements from Cybercrime at Westminster Police’ and told them that their bank details had been stolen.
Ajmal gave them details and ID numbers to convince them he was a genuine police officer.
He persuaded them to move their money to a “safe protected account”.
Over several weeks the couple transferred money and converted cash into gold bullion, arranging collections for the ‘police’ through a ‘special agent courier.’
Ajmal told them he would personally visit them to give them the details of their new accounts, new cards and cheque books on October 28, 2019.
But he failed to turn up and when the couple tried to call his number, there was no answer.
They then realised they had been conned and told police:
“Everything’s gone, we have got no money.”
A judge ruled that a confiscation order of £848,263 to cover the full amount that Ajmal stole should be made.
A further compensation order was made for £124,108 to cover the tax bill incurred by the victims.
Ajmal has three months to pay the outstanding funds or he will face a further six years in prison on top of his original sentence.
In an impact statement, the female victim said:
“The shock and panic were immense. I realised our entire life savings could be lost.
“We’ve worked hard and saved all our married lives. Our greatest wish was to help our children financially.
“It is beyond comprehension how he could be so cruel to two pensioners.”
Her husband added: “The financial damage was catastrophic. Members of our family loaned us money.
“We had gut-wrenching anxiety and worry over how bills could be paid.”
Judge Brian Forster said: “What you did was heartless. Your first victims were left in a state of shock.
“What took place made an indelible mark on their lives. Everything they had been taken from them.
“One can only imagine their feelings when they realised.”
Dorset Police’s Economic Crime Unit are currently working to ensure that the couple is properly compensated.