Four men have been sentenced to a total of 35 months in prison and fined £4,000 for money laundering and fraud offences involving victims and fraudulent transactions across the world.
Using false identities, the defendants were able to open a bank account, buy phones and attempt to sell items over the internet, creating an international scam worth thousands of pounds.
They then sent the monies gained via a money transfer scheme to accomplices in South America.
The four men from High Wycombe appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court on 19 January and pleaded guilty. They were sentenced at the same court earlier today.
Zain Muheen Jamil, aged 24, (pictured above) of Chiltern Avenue, was charged with conspiracy to transfer criminal property, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. He transferred criminal property, namely £36,000, knowing or suspecting that it was the proceeds of crime.
He was also charged with fraud contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006 and possession of false identity documents with improper intention. He was sentenced to a total of 22 months in prison
Naeem Rafiq, (also known as Naeem Akhtar) aged 36, of Rowan Avenue, was charged with conspiracy to transfer to criminal property, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. He transferred criminal property, namely £19,141, knowing or suspecting that it was the proceeds of crime. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison
Mohammed Khurshid, aged 29, Cressex Road, was charged with transferring criminal property contrary to section 327(1)(d) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2007. On 27 March 2013 he transferred criminal property, namely £2,414, knowing or suspecting that it was the proceeds of crime. His sentence was a £4000 fine
Michael James Smith, aged 29, of Rowan Avenue, was charged with transferring criminal property, contrary to section 327(1)(d) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2007. On 8 May 2013 he transferred criminal property, namely £1,900, knowing or suspecting that it was the proceeds of crime. He was sentenced to a 12 month community order and 200 hours of unpaid work
Jamil was employed by Phones4U as a sales consultant based at a retail park in High Wycombe. Colluding with others, he used illegally obtained credit cards to buy sim-free phones, air time vouchers and accessories. He is also suspected of using details of stolen or cloned identities to set up fake credit agreements to buy phones.
Between the 12 March 2013 and 4 June 2013, Jamil opened and operated an account at a branch of Barclays bank in London under the name of Ianis Macu using Romanian documents in the same name (in breach of Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006).
Jamil, still operating as Ianis Macu, then made attempts to sell phones and other items via the internet using spoof internet sites and a cloned eBay account.
Two of the victims came forward, a man in the USA and a man in Belgium. They told police they were duped into sending more than £5,000 for items such as phones and a home cinema system which they had seen for sale over the internet. They never received the items.
Jamil was also employed as an agent for the money transfer agency Western Union in High Wycombe. Using the knowledge of money transfer systems gained from his employment as an agent, he then transferred stolen money from his internet sales to a contact in Bolivia.
Following a tip off, Thames Valley Police mounted an operation to uncover the money laundering and fraudulent behaviour, which led to the identification of Jamil, who was carrying false identification, and of Rafiq.
Enquiries revealed that both Kurshid and Smith had also transferred stolen money to Akhtar using the Western Union system.
Retired fraud detective, James Deans, who brought the men to justice expressed his pleasure at today’s hearing: “I am delighted that this case has finally been brought to a conclusion. This is a fine example of partnership working with colleagues from Western Union and the mainstream banking sector to bring this group of organised criminals to justice.”