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Two men sentenced for their roles in nationwide telephone fraud scam

Two men were sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday (25 June) for their roles in a nationwide telephone and courier fraud scam.

Syam Hussain

The sentencing follows a three week trial in which the men were found guilty by unanimous jury of entering into and becoming concerned with the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.

Syam Hussain, 24, of Scarle Road, Wembley, London, and Muhammad Talukdar, 22, of Stepney Way, London, were both sentenced to eight months imprisonment.

Muhammad Talukdar

This trial followed a large-scale Cumbria Police and West Mercia Police investigation into fraud offences that took place between April and June 2016 across several counties, and saw eight defendants convicted earlier this year (February 2019), with five of those jailed for a total of more than 21 years for their involvement in this scam.

Victims were called on their landlines by individuals posing as police officers investigating fraud at a local banking branch and asked to hand over significant amounts of money.

Hussain and Talukdar's roles in this fraud saw them facilitate the laundering of money stolen from elderly victims in Cumbria and Worcestershire.

Talukdar did so by providing his bank account details and access to his online banking to other members of the gang, accepting cash in return for handing over control of his account. Meanwhile Hussain was complicit in providing bank account details to other members of the gang which were given to elderly victims under the guise of being a 'safe police account'.

This was a persuasive scam that saw over 50 victims targeted, and of those, 15 were convinced to hand over money, with a total of over £200,000 being stolen.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright from the West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: "This type of telephone fraud is an ongoing challenge for West Mercia Police and falls under our Project Prospero initiative, specifically aimed at tackling telephone and courier fraud.

"We therefore welcome these sentences and hope they act as a deterrent to anyone considering handing over control of their bank accounts to facilitate money laundering.

"As highlighted by His Honour Judge Cartwright in his sentencing remarks, Hussain and Talukdar were blinded by greed, entering into an arrangement they thought would earn them quick and easy money with no regard for the consequences or their victims.

"This telephone fraud scam was ruthless and targeted some of the most vulnerable members of the community. Without individuals such as Hussain and Talukdar agreeing to such arrangements then these shameful crimes would not be able to take place at all.

"We continue to work hard to tackle serious and organised crime such as this and protect the public, particularly the most vulnerable, who often fall victim to this criminality."

Detective Chief Inspector of Cumbria Police, David Stalker said: "This was a really good piece of joint investigative work between Cumbria Police and West Mercia Police, to bring these offenders, and others relating to this operation to justice.

"We are very pleased with the outcome and hope this sends a strong message of deterrence to anyone else considering such abhorrent behaviour."  

For information about how you can protect yourself from this kind of fraud, and for general fraud and cyber crime prevention advice visit the West Mercia Police Get Safe Online website: https://www.getsafeonline.org/westmercia

If you have been a victim of telephone fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 2040 or by visiting  www.actionfraud.police.uk

Anyone who is a victim of courier fraud who feels they may need support, or may not want to contact the police, West Mercia's Victim Advice Line is a free, independent and confidential support service. People can call 0800 952 3000 or visit www.victimadviceline.org.uk

Posted at: 11am, Friday, 28 June 2019, by LK, Corporate Communications 

Published 27/06/19