Gang jailed by Old Bailey in £1m Canary Wharf lorry training scam
PUBLISHED: 12:45 27 February 2014 | UPDATED: 15:49 04 March 2014
A gang which carried out a £1 million lorry driver training scam in Canary Wharf in east London have been jailed for a total of almost 20 years and banned from being company directors for up to 12 years.
Four men have been convicted at the Old Bailey on charges of fraudulent trading following an under-cover investigation by Tower Hamlets Trading Standards that began in 2010.
The gang operated companies in Canary Wharf between 2009 and 2012, conning customers through false representation into paying for bogus courses to qualify as Large Goods Vehicle drivers.
They promised practical training and opportunities of jobs at the end of it—but it never happened.
The duped victims never got the total training package they paid for.
Instead, they were fobbed off with excuses after paying out up to £3,000 each, many of them unemployed, to retrain as qualified drivers.
The jury heard from 15 victims during the six-week trial which ended last Tuesday.
Judge Bevan described the fraud as “a cynical ploy.” He told the four: “You appear to be contemptuous of your victims and any mitigation pales into insignificance against the loss deliberately caused to others.”
Muhammad Osama Rahman, 27, from Penang Street in Wapping, was given six years and four months, with a 12-year disqualification banning him as a company director until 2026.
Mohammed Miah, from Ponler Street in Whitechapel, got four-and-a-half years and a five-year ban.
Mohammed Saidur Rahman, 27, from Bigland Street in Shadwell, received four-and-a-half years with 10 years’ disqualification.
Simon Brindley, from Southend in Essex, was jailed for four-and-a-half years with a 10-year ban, having already been convicted of similar crimes in north London in December when he was jailed for 16 months.
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman said after the hearing: “It was despicable that these fraudsters were taking money from those who need it most, victims who included the unemployed.”
The gang is estimated to have coined more than £1m in three years, using sophisticated marketing with websites and brochures giving the impression they were legitimate and offering jobs once victims had qualified.