A callous group who masterminded a scam to steal cash from pensioners has been sentenced to a total of 14 years imprisonment.
The ten men had appeared at Basildon Crown Court on 7th April 2011 following an
investigation by Metropolitan Police Service. The group stole more than £120,000.
The court heard how the con involved suspects taking cash by telephoning elderly victims and claiming to be police officers investigating a fraud on their bank account.
They would then ask for the victim’s account details before turning up at their address in ‘plain clothes’ to collect their bank card. They would claim the victim needed to run their card through a machine at Scotland Yard to identify the person responsible for the fraud.
Victims would be provided with a fake crime reference number before being asked to place their payment card in a sealed envelope with the relevant pin number written on the back. Before leaving the address they would tell the victim not to speak to anyone about the incident as it would ‘jeopardise the investigation’.
The gang would go on to use the cards in retail outlets and more predominantly in betting shops.
On one occasion an 88-year-old woman from Redbridge had £12,336 taken from her bank account, whilst another victim lost £25,000. They were also responsible for obtaining in excess of £70,000 from three other victims.
Detectives carried out a meticulous investigation and appeared on BBC’s Crimewatch in a bid to trace the men.
Those convicted and sentenced include: Suhayb Patel, 27; Uwais Patel, 23; Numan Patel, 22; Wakas Ahmed, 22; Wasim Ahmad, 28; Ajay Mehta, 43; Leela Narayanasami, 35; Mohammad Saddak, 24; Nadeem Ismail, 23 and Mohammed Iqbal, 20.
The court heard how all of the offences were carried out between October 2008 and April 2009 with victims targeted in Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Waltham Forest and Enfield.
Detective Inspector Chris Krelle, who led the investigation from Havering borough, said: “These cowardly offences were being committed against the most frail and vulnerable people in our communities. The successful conclusion of Operation Ferres has seen the dismantling of an organized crime group which have been deemed so serious the majority of those convicted received custodial offences.
“If you feel you have been a victim of this type of crime, please get in contact with us and report the offence. In addition, if you are contacted by anyone who uses the methods we have described; alert police immediately. It’s important for everyone to remember that your bank would be the first organisation to contact you if they suspect you are a victim of credit card fraud. You should always request and verify the identification of any person who calls at your door that you do not know. Any police officer who calls at an address would always be in possession of a warrant card.”