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Home Breaking Four con artists have been sentenced after their cruel actions saw pensioners targeted and scammed to the tune of £200,000

Four con artists have been sentenced after their cruel actions saw pensioners targeted and scammed to the tune of £200,000

  Arris Qumar, 26, Awais Zaman, 21, Mya Haskins, 19, Adriana Andrade, 19, are all adapting to bars and bunkbeds after their involvement in a complex fraud conspiracy targeting vulnerable victims was exposed in court. Last September, Detectives identified a total of six victims in Newcastle, South Tyneside, Durham, Darlington and West Yorkshire who had all been contacted by fraudsters purporting to be police officers. The complex scam, known as courier fraud, saw criminals contact their victims by telephone and convince them that their bank accounts had been scammed. They then directed them to help officers investigate by supplying ‘vital evidence’ in the form of withdrawn cash, purchased valuables, and personal bank details. Around £200,000 was handed over to the fraudsters, with one victim from Darlington, losing £127,000 The incidents were all reported to Police and specialist officers from the North-East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU) soon launched an investigation. In October 2021, warrants were executed at properties in London, Warwickshire, and the West Midlands and four suspects soon found themselves in handcuffs. Further warrants were executed in January of this year in the West Midlands, and additional suspects soon joined their criminal colleagues in handcuffs. The criminal group were subsequently charged with conspiring to commit fraud by false representation and appeared at Teesside Crown Court. In August 2021, Andrade was convicted following a guilty plea. On 03/10/22, Qumar, Zaman and Haskins were convicted by jury following a trial. On Friday, December 9, all four appeared before the same court and were sentenced to a total of over 10 years for their criminal actions. The following sentences were handed down: Arris Qumar, of York Close, Coventry, was sentenced to three years and eight months imprisonment. Awais Zaman, of Brooklyn Road, Coventry, was sentenced to two years and ten months imprisonment. Mya Haskins, of Izod Road, Rugby, Warwickshire, was sentenced to one year and ten months imprisonment. Adriana Andrade, of Norman Road, Rugby, Warwickshire, was sentenced to one year and four months imprisonment. Detective Constable Andy Thompson, the officer in charge of the case, said it is vital that victims of fraud continued to challenge cold-callers and report anything suspicious to police. He said: “Firstly, I want to thank the victims in this case for their bravery and for working with officers to ensure justice was served at court. “This was a particularly callous crime in which the criminals specifically targeted elderly and vulnerable members of our community to fulfil their own personal greed. The investigation was complex in nature, however we ensured that the victims were safeguarded and that we identified those responsible who were brought to justice” “Sadly, many people who find themselves caught up in a complex scam like courier fraud are often unaware they’ve been a victim until it is too late. “I encourage families to speak to their elderly relatives and educate them around potential scams and fraud and ask them if anyone has called them out of the blue, or if they have recently withdrawn money or handed over any valuables. These conversations are important.” NEROCU’s Detective Inspector Shaun Fordy added: “This is a great result but our work in detecting and preventing fraud is far from over.” “Along with our partners, we will continue to relentlessly pursue those criminals who seek to scam the elderly, the vulnerable and the unsuspecting, under Operation Sentinel. We will arrest them, and we will put them before the Courts. “Help us to reinforce the message that police officers, or your bank will never cold call and ask you to hand over money or transfer funds. If you receive a call like this, do not interact – hang up and report it immediately. “With your help we can close the net further on these deceitful and deplorable fraudsters and put them before the Courts.” If you think you might have been a victim of courier fraud, please contact us via 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. You can also report it online at the Action Fraud website.

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