A Scottish crime family duped scores of pensioners out of their life savings using a fake bank scam fuelled by data stolen from a UK call centre to go on a £1.3m spending spree, a court has heard.
Using a Glasgow newsagents as a front, the family cold-called potential victims across England posing as bank officials investigating a scam.
They then convinced pensioners to transfer funds into an electronic account which they claimed would help the police with their investigations. One of the 42 victims parted with £84,000.
The gang behind the scam spent the money on sports cars, flash watches and trips to Dubai.
Led by Atif Mohammed, they then invited their victims to hang up and dial their bank’s fraud team to gain their trust. But they actually stayed on the line and intercepted the return call.
Bristol Crown Court heard the money was transferred between various accounts before being withdrawn and splashed on flash cars including a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Land Rover, a Ferrari and a Mercedes. It also paid for gold jewellery, expensive watches, gambling and trips abroad, including repeat visits to Dubai, where they bought a house.
Atif Mohammed, 24, admitted conspiring to commit fraud by false representation, as did his cousins Asif Ali, 33, Shakeel Ahmed, 21, and Shabeer Ahmed, 25.
His brother Saif Mohammed, 20, pled guilty to concealing, disguising, converting or transferring controlled property.
The gang called thousands of people using dozens of mobile phones as part of the voice phishing scam, after being were fed contact details by call centre worker Zoe Latif – Atif Mohammed’s girlfriend, who has admitted encouraging or assisting in the commission of criminal offences.
Prosecutor Rupert Lowe said: “The declared income of the Mohammed family was extremely modest but they had the trappings of significant wealth.”
The gang was eventually tripped up in November 2014 when Saif Ahmed used a landline to make a call and it was tracked by police. The following day, their home and a shop were searched and family members arrested.
Shameem Ali Mohammed – Atif and Saif’s mother – is charged with possessing criminal property. She denied knowledge of the fraud as she appeared this week. Shameem’s trial continues, while the others will be sentenced at a later date.
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