North London scam gang jailed for 17 years after preying on the vulnerable to steal £40,000 in phone scams

Five men were sentenced at St Albans Crown Court today for their part in a series of phone scams.

Five men were sentenced at St Albans Crown Court today for their part in a series of phone scams. - Credit: Archant

Five men have been jailed for a total of more than 17 years today after scamming vulnerable people out of thousands of pounds by posing as police officers.

Mohammed Hussain.

Mohammed Hussain. - Credit: Archant

The north London-based group stole more than £40,000 after they tricked 11 people into handing over bank cards and PIN numbers as the result of a phone scam which has been in operation across the eastern region.

One of their victims – an elderly woman in Hertfordshire – lost more than £20,000 over the course of 30 days when members of the group kept up the pretence and phoned her every day asking for more money.

In all the offences they posed as police officers or bank staff and told their victims that their bank accounts had been infiltrated by thieves.

They usually claimed to be from the Metropolitan Police and used Lescott, Rogers and Maguire as their surnames.

Mohammed Miah.

Mohammed Miah. - Credit: Archant

The fraudsters claimed that as part of their investigations they needed to do forensic tests on the victim’s bank cards and PIN numbers or large amounts of cash.

Two of the men – Mohammed Hussain and Mohammed Miah – acted as couriers and collected cards and PIN numbers, which were used immediately at cash machines near the victims’ homes.

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All five admitted conspiracy to defraud between March and July 2014 ahead of today’s sentencing at St Albans Crown Court.

Hussain, 23, of Malden Crescent, was jailed for three years and nine months, while Miah, 21, of Coopers Lane was handed a sentence of three years and seven months.

Dedar Ali.

Dedar Ali. - Credit: Archant

Accomplice Muhammad Ahmed, 22, of Hemingway Close, was also given a jail term of three years and seven months, while Motahir Rahman, 23, of Kiln Place, and Dedar Ali, 20, of Cressfield Close, were sentenced to three years and fours months each.

Judge Stephen Warner, who felt that it was warranted to make a departure from the sentencing guidelines to ensure the sentences reflected the seriousness of the offences, said: “These were mean and cynical offences deliberately planned to take advantage of the vulnerable and done to obtain financial gain. Those who commit these offences can expect substantial terms of imprisonment.”

Det Insp Danny Lawrence, who leads the eastern region’s cyber crime unit, said: “These men preyed on the elderly and vulnerable and took advantage of people’s trusting nature. They left the victims and their families in a great deal of distress by committing these frauds and this has been reflected in today’s sentencing.

“I hope this sends out a clear message to anyone thinking about becoming involved in organised crime and, particularly in this case, phone scams. We will identify you and we will bring you to court.

Mohammed Ahmed.

Mohammed Ahmed. - Credit: Archant

“These arrests were made following effective partnership and collaboration through the unit where a number of police forces are working together. This should reinforce the message that the eastern region is a hostile place for organised crime and we will continue to identify, disrupt and dismantle any organised crime groups.”

Mohammed Rahman.

Mohammed Rahman. - Credit: Archant