A man convicted of fraud in January 2019 is finally behind bars after fleeing abroad to evade justice.
Sami Raja, 33, of Grays, Essex, was sentenced to eight years in prison at Southwark Crown Court on 18 January 2019 after being found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
He, along with four others, miss-sold carbon credits to 130 unsuspecting victims through two companies, Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd, between January 2012 and August 2013, making fraudulent profits of approximately £2.4million.
Raja was first arrested in September 2013 and released under investigation. Due to the complexity of the case, it took another five years for the case to get to court. He entered a plea of not guilty in February 2017 and then absconded to Dubai in December 2017, a fortnight before his trial was due to start. He was subsequently convicted by a jury, in his absence, in January 2019.
Whilst in Dubai, Raja attempted to further evade justice by appealing his conviction. He also continually flaunted a luxurious lifestyle on his social media pages, posting pictures from expensive resorts in the Maldives and posing with designer goods such as a £4,000 Rolex and a £33,000 Aston Martin car.
The City of London Police and the Crown Prosecution Service were able to secure a European Arrest Warrant in March 2019 and Raja was arrested when he travelled to Athens on 15 July 2020. He was brought back to the UK on 26 August.
Raja appeared at Southwark Crown Court again on Thursday 27 August, where he was sent to prison to commence his eight year sentence.
Senior Investigating Officer Hayley Wade, of the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, said:
“Raja cruelly targeted elderly individuals with the intention of defrauding them of their life savings. At the time of his crimes he clearly felt no remorse for his actions and this attitude has only become more apparent over the last 18 months.
“He is a callous and greedy individual, but today we have shown he is not above the law. We hope the fact he is now finally serving the prison sentence he deserves for his crimes, will bring some comfort to the victims in this case.
“I would like to thank the National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service, Metropolitan Police and the authorities in Greece, for all of their assistance in bringing Raja back to the UK to face justice.”