"He was aided by two corrupt bank workers"
Three men have been jailed for more than 12 years for fraud. They conned elderly customers of a Stoke Newington bank in East London, out of more than £390,000.
Taminder Virdi, aged 33, of Goodmayes, and Abubakar Salim, aged 36, of Leyton, both worked at the same TSB branch in Stoke Newington in 2014.
They were caught transferring funds out of customer accounts into 65 beneficiary accounts they had opened.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) was able to prove that these accounts were controlled by Babar Hussain, aged 40, of East Ham.
NCA officers began investigating the men when one of the eight victims reported that £56,000 had been transferred out of their bank account without consent.
The money was then deposited into seven beneficiary accounts opened in different names.
Accountant Hussain was arrested in July 2016 and officers found several fraudulently obtained genuine driving licences, which Virdi and Salim used along with bogus gas and electricity bills to open up the accounts.
During the interview, Hussain claimed that part of his work involved opening and managing bank accounts for those just arriving in the UK with no fixed address.
Hussain’s mobile phone contained messages which identified other victims of fraud. Virdi and Salim abused their position within the bank to access their accounts and transfer money into beneficiary accounts.
Virdi was arrested in November 2016 while Salim was arrested in May 2017.
At the time of Virdi’s arrest, he had resigned from TSB after an internal investigation into his fraudulent activities took place.
He was working for Santander but investigations found that Virdi continued his fraudulent activities. Following his arrest, he was suspended. Santander fully supported the NCA’s investigation.
Salim was also subject to an internal investigation at TSB and later dismissed. TSB reported the incidents to police and assisted the NCA with the investigation.
The three men were charged with fraud by abuse of position and money laundering.
Hussain admitted to the offences before the start of his trial on March 25, 2019. Virdi and Salim were found guilty on April 29, 2019.
On May 3, 2019, at Blackfriars Crown Court, Babar Hussain was jailed for five years and four months. Abubakar Salim was imprisoned for four years and Taminder Virdi was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Mike Hulett, Head of Operations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit said:
“Hussain is a professional money launderer who used his accountancy knowledge to steal hundreds of thousands of pounds from elderly banking customers.
“He was aided by two corrupt bank workers who abused their positions of trust, using false documents to set up bank accounts to launder the hard-earned savings of their unsuspecting victims.
“As soon as the first victim reported the theft we used our specialist cyber capabilities to follow the money and established the real world identities of these criminals.
“We are committed to working with partners to target professional enablers involved in cyber-crime.”
“Anyone who is concerned about suspicious activity linked to their bank accounts should contact their bank provider and report what’s happened to Action Fraud.”
It was reported that all the victims of the fraud were fully reimbursed by the banks.