A callous fraudster has been brought before the courts after conning an elderly man out of his bank cards and going on a spending spree.
Mohammad Hussain, 37, of Ben Johnson Road, E1, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation. He had duped a man in his 80s into handing over his bank cards by pretending to be a policeman, and then pretended he was entitled to use the man’s cards in a shop.
Hussain was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, to run concurrently on each count, suspended for two years, at Inner London Crown Court on 4 March.
He was arrested after police stopped him on an unrelated incident and matched his image to CCTV that caught him carrying out his crimes.
The court heard that at around noon on 17 November 2017 Hussain rang the man and told him he was a police officer investigating a fraud involving the victim’s bank card. He asked the man a number of questions about his cards and bank accounts, including the PIN numbers.
Hussain then told the man, who lived in Southwark, to go to a bank to withdraw £4,000. The conman then claimed that the imaginary suspects who had defrauded the victim had been caught, and the man would need to go to the bank and help verify fingerprints.
When the elderly man said he could not get there, Hussain told him he would send someone around to visit him. The man told the conman he wanted to call his daughter, but Hussain ordered him not to and instead told him to call 999. However, owing to a technique that kept the victim’s phone line open, when the victim did dial 999 he was put back in touch with Hussain.
Hussain made his way to the man’s home and was captured on CCTV walking up to his front door to convince him to hand over his bank cards in an envelope.
Then Hussain went on a spending spree in Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford. He was caught on CCTV going into two shops where he spent over £1,800 on the victims cards.
Later that day the victim called his granddaughter and told her what had happened. She called his bank and the police. While she was there a man pretending to be from her grandfather’s bank called to ask if he had cancelled his card. When told the real bank had been spoken to, the caller said: “tell your grandad to be careful who he gives his card to and that he should have a lovely Christmas”.
After this gross abuse of trust, the victim was left so frightened he struggled to eat, rarely left the house and was unable to trust people.
Police caught up with Hussain and arrested him in August 2019 after he was stopped on an unrelated matter.