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Fraudster jailed over £400,000 scam against North Yorkshire woman

Muhammed Faisal Yakoob

Published by Lizzy McEllan at 3:31pm 29th March 2019.

A Stoke-on-Trent man has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for his part in stealing over £400,000 from a North Yorkshire woman.

  • A man has been jailed for his part in scamming a North Yorkshire woman out of over £400,000
  • Muhammed Faisal Yakoob, 36, from Stoke-on-Trent was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for money laundering and identity fraud
  • Yakoob was a post-graduate student in accounting and computer science
  • The victim - who was in her 70s at the time - has been left "devastated" after being convinced her bank accounts were at risk from fraud
  • Fraudsters managed to convince her to transfer her money into different accounts and download an app on her computer

A Stoke-on-Trent man has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for his part in stealing over £400,000 from a North Yorkshire woman.

Muhammed Faisal Yakoob, 36 of Scrivener road, Cliffe Vale, Stoke-on-Trent ,was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on 22 March 2019 after pleading guilty to offences of money laundering and identity fraud.

Yakoob was part of a plausible conspiracy who managed to convince the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, that her bank account was under attack from fraudsters.

In May and June of 2016 the woman, who was in her 70s at the time, received a number of phone calls from people claiming to be from her own bank.

The callers not only had her personal details, but also where she had banked for a number of years.

The callers convinced her that her bank account, and subsequently her savings accounts, were at risk of imminent fraudulent attack from a rogue member of her bank’s staff and managed to convince her that there was an ongoing investigation into the matter by her bank, the Financial Conduct Authority and the police.

The fraudsters told her that, in conjunction with the FCA, they had opened a number of new ‘safe’ accounts in her name at other banks, and that she needed to transfer her money into these new accounts where it would be safe.

Over a period of three weeks, she received repeated calls, putting her under a constant fear that her money was at risk from fraud, and providing her with various instructions to transfer her money into other accounts.

They even persuaded her to download an app onto her computer, giving them remote access and told her they could use this it to check her computer for viruses.

In reality, they used it to remotely apply online for a £25,000 bank loan in the victim’s name.

By the time the fraud came to light, the fraudsters had obtained funds in excess of £400,000 which represented her entire savings.

To facilitate their fraud, the offenders relied on having control of a number of ‘mule’ bank accounts which could not be traced to themselves.

One of these accounts had been set up by Yakoob who used an alias identity, first to rent a bedsit address in Crewe, then to purchase a company called Glamco Ltd from an online company formation agent, and then to apply online for a fictitious company bank account.

Yakoob, a post-graduate student in accounting and computer science at the time of the offences, held two passports and driving licences, one set in is his real name and one in his alias.

He used his duplicate identity to front the Glamco company, in the belief it could never be traced to himself.

£125,000 of the victim’s funds were paid into Yakoob’s Glamco account, from where they were quickly transferred to a large number of ‘mule’ accounts, held in the main by foreign nationals.

Detectives identified Yakoob through a number of enquiries including CCTV at the bank where presented the identity documents in his alias name.

Officers were also able to demonstrate how Yakoob had once used the same alias on an occasion many years earlier.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Ian Sharp of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud Investigation Team, said:

“The victim in this case was an astute, educated, professional who was convinced by the conniving, plausible tactics used by the fraudsters to steal her money.

“She has been devastated by this event.

"The overwhelming impact seems to her similar to the experience of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I hope she takes some comfort knowing that Yakoob is now behind bars and that the fault lies solely with these disgraceful criminals who took advantage of her trustworthy nature.

“Yakoob was part of a wider group of fraudsters involved in this case who will be prosecuted should any further evidence come to light.”

Advice

The police always advise people to be on their guard when receiving cold calls from people claiming to be from their own bank.

Fraudsters are constantly developing new and more advanced techniques to gather information about their victims prior to interacting with them.

They often sound very professional and convincing, however, genuine bank staff will not ask you for your personal banking details nor will they ask you to transfer money.

If in any doubt, always terminate the call and then use a different phone line to contact your bank directly to check the identity of a caller and that what they are claiming is correct.

For more information about fraud and how to protect yourself visit www.northyorkshire.police.uk/fraud

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