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Man jailed for money laundering as part of scam

Published on Thursday, June 14, 2018

A MAN has been jailed for more than three years for his part in a scam which conned a vulnerable Leicester man out of his life savings.

Arshad Hussain was caught after a bank transfer of more than £54,000 was made to his account by the victim, as part of a larger scam which saw the man defrauded out of £131,000.

The terrified victim, who lives in Knighton, Leicester, even took out a bank loan for £25,000 to pay the fraudsters after exhausting his savings.

On Tuesday, June 12, Leicester Crown Court handed Hussain, aged 35, of Lady Pit Lane, Leeds, a prison sentence of three years and four months after he pleaded guilty to two counts relating to money laundering.

The court heard how the victim had been targeted in June 2016 by bogus workmen claiming firstly to be from a company called Pro Guard, and later from a business known as Everest, who persuaded him to have his gutters cleaned and subsequently to have his fascias and guttering completely replaced.

Very little work was ever done, and it was of very poor quality, but the conmen continued to visit the victim, demanding cash payments and even taking the victim’s phone away and deleting messages from it.

An expert engaged by Leicester Trading Standards to examine the shoddy work suspected the workmen had deliberately damaged the house in order to charge for carrying out extortionate repairs.

Police were alerted in June 2016 when £54,200 was paid in three separate transactions to a bank account belonging to Hussain, by a fraudster who visited the victim claiming to be from Everest.

Although the money was subsequently dispersed to other accounts held by Hussain and others, investigators said there was no indication that Hussain was involved in the principal fraud.

When arrested in September 2016, Hussain claimed the money was the repayment of a loan to a friend in a casino.

However, following his subsequent guilty plea, Hussain was convicted and sentence for his role in the scam.

A Proceeds of Crime investigation has now begun to recoup the money paid by the victim. The two fraudsters who visited the victim have never been identified.

Leicester City Council’s Trading Standards manager, Ronald Ruddock, said: “We were handed the case when the police came to a dead end with their investigation into the perpetrators of this doorstep crime.

“However, they assisted greatly, particularly in arranging for arrests in Leeds and doing a vulnerable witness interview which requires special skills and is taken under a special procedure.

“ I am pleased that our joint work with Leicestershire police has resulted in this positive outcome. The sentence sends a message about how serious the offence of money laundering is viewed.

“It was unfortunate that we were unable to identify those who actually visited the victims property and took his cash.”

Leicester deputy city mayor responsible for regulatory services, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, added: “This is a disgraceful example of fraudsters taking advantage of a vulnerable man and conning him out of his life savings.

“Hussain may not have been part of the principal crime, but by involving himself in laundering the money from this scam, he has found himself with a prison sentence.”

Anyone who may have been a victim of bogus workmen can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.