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West Ham man jailed for role in £7.7m fraud

PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 February 2012

A supermarket shelf stacker who posed as a property developer as part of a £7.7million fraud has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Mdmustazur Rahman, 28, of Geere Road, West Ham, was earning £7.26 an hour at Morrisons when he was recruited by a crooked firm of solicitors to open a business account with HSBC.

The next month £232,000 from the sale of a house in central London was paid to him instead of the mortgage provider.

It was one of at least 25 deals overseen by the firm of solicitors at the centre of an ongoing fraud investigation by police, the Old Bailey heard.

Rahman, who is the only person so far to have been charged in relation to the scam, may only have received £2,000 for his role.

He admitted two counts of fraud and one of money laundering and now faces being deported to Pakistan after completing his sentence.

The court heard he came to the UK to study computer systems engineering and found a job at Morrisons in March 2007.

But in 2011 he was told he needed to be earning £40,000 a year to remain in the country on a skilled worker’s visa and in desperation agreed to take part in the fraud.

Transactions

Prosecutor Susannah Stevens said: “The allegations centre around the criminal conduct of a solicitor’s firm which is still under investigation by police.

“The fraud involved funds received from the sales or intended sales of properties.

“Money, which should have been transferred on to the mortgage provider, was transferred into the bank account of a third party.

“It was then quickly deposited into the accounts of others. There are investigations into more than 25 transactions involving £7.7million.”

Rahman was only involved in relation to one of the transactions and police are still investigating at least two other individuals, the court heard.

On March 24, 2011, he opened two bank accounts at HSBC in the name of the firm of solicitors, which cannot be identified due to the police probe, and made false representations to do so.

Rahman was arrested on May 10 after HSBC staff identified him from CCTV footage.

The court heard that only £33,000 of the £232,000 was successfully withdrawn by the fraudsters because of the prompt action of HSBC after it was notified by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Rahman has already spent 278 days behind bars and will be deported on completion of his sentence.


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