BREAKING DERBYSHIRE

A man who was jailed for more than 34 months after bombarding a Chesterfield taxi firm with calls, in a bid to blackmail money from the owner of the business, has been ordered to pay back just £1 after it was found that all the money he stole had been spent

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Ehsen Abdul Razak, 24, of Strachan Street, Maidstone and Gracia Mbwiti of Harts Lane, Barking launched a Telephone Denial of Service (TDOS) attack on A-Line Taxis in February 2017.

The pair purchased specialist equipment which allowed them to constantly call the firm day and night over a 30-hour period, preventing genuine calls getting through. They then attempted to blackmail the company in order for the calls to stop.

In the course of this investigation, Abdul Razak and Mbwiti were also found to have stolen thousands of compromised bank details in an attempt to defraud people out of money, dating back to 2016.

They pleaded guilty to misusing a computer to deny service, blackmail, fraud and conspiracy to defraud.

Abdul Razak was jailed for 34 months and Mbwiti for 30 months when they appeared at Derby Crown Court on 9 September last year.

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Mick Donegan said: “This attack was a targeted attempt to blackmail an individual by putting their livelihood at stake.

“Genuine callers were unable to get through, meaning that A-Line taxis lost thousands of pounds worth of business and their reputation was put in jeopardy as they were seemingly not answering calls for service.

“We are pleased that Abdul Razak and Mbwiti have been brought to justice for this incident and that it puts a spotlight on the length fraudsters will go to blackmail businesses for cash.

“I would urge anyone who thinks they may be subject to a TDOS attack to contact us as soon as possible, as we take reports of this nature extremely seriously.”

But after a recent thorough investigation of Abdul Razak’s finances, it was determined that he has none of the cash he heartlessly took, having purchased equipment that would incessantly call the taxi firm and cripple its business.

As such, a judge at a Proceeds of Crime Application hearing ordered the 25-year-old to pay back the nominal sum of just £1.

Judge Jonathan Bennett said: “I find that the benefit figure, in this case, is £20,000 and I find the defendant’s available assets to be nil.

“Therefore I am ordering that £1 be paid within three months and there will be 14 day in default (added to his current sentence).”