A fraudster who tricked the elderly and vulnerable out of their life’s savings has been convicted and jailed.
Mohammed Rafiq, 34, of Grantholm Avenue, Motherwell, was part of an organised crime group who defrauded 33 victims of £630,000 between October 2017 and June 2018 – including seven in Kent.
His offending came to light when detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate were alerted to a scam committed in Canterbury on Friday 23 March 2018.
An elderly woman had received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a fraud investigator, who instructed her to transfer £6,500 into a ‘safe account’ because her own account had been compromised by criminals.
She was told not to tell anyone at the bank why she was transferring the money. After returning home she received a second call asking her to send a further £5,600. The second payment was blocked by the victim’s bank before police were notified.
An associate of Rafiq had used his mobile phone to book a taxi to the bank for the victim, and officers were able to trace the number to an address in Glasgow where a search warrant was executed on Wednesday 6 June 2018.
Rafiq, along with another man, was present at the scene and arrested. They were later charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation after being connected with a large number of other offences committed against elderly and vulnerable people across the UK.
Both men originally denied any wrongdoing but later pleaded guilty at the start of their trial.
Rafiq was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday 7 February 2020. The other man, aged 37 from Glasgow, was sentenced to 14 months, suspended for 18 months, at the same court in January 2020. He was also given 200 hours of unpaid work.
Their associate, a 39-year-old man from Glasgow, was jailed for six years and nine months in July 2018 as part of the same investigation after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Mark Newman said: ‘Mohammed Rafiq and his accomplices were relentless in their efforts to trick as many victims as possible into handing over the contents of their bank accounts.
‘Their crimes demonstrate a shocking lack of empathy for a large number of elderly and vulnerable people who in some cases lost their life savings. The effect these offences had on them and their families cannot be understated.
‘We are always keen to remind people that the police or your bank will never ask you to draw out money or send a courier to your home to collect any cash. If you ever receive a telephone call fitting this description, please clear the line immediately without providing any information.