Gang jailed 37 years in £1m ‘courier’ scam tricking OAPs across London and the South

Jailed... Fahim Islam from Whitechapel (left) and gang-leader Makhzumi Abukar

Jailed... Fahim Islam from Whitechapel (left) and gang-leader Makhzumi Abukar - Credit: MPS

Eight members of a gang of 11 fraudsters have been jailed for a total of 34 years for tricking pensioners out of £1 million in a fake police courier scam.

Jailed... Anrul Islam (left), Nathan Fagan-Gayle and Achmed Ahmed

Jailed... Anrul Islam (left), Nathan Fagan-Gayle and Achmed Ahmed - Credit: MPS

Five of them, two from east London, two from north London and one from Surrey, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud or money laundering.

They included gang-leader Makzhumi Abukar—his home was rigged with 16 phone lines where thousands of calls were made to unsuspecting pensioners pretending to be undercover detectives investigating bank frauds.

Three others were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury and sentenced with them.

Police described the scam as “an industrial-scale conspiracy” totting up to 140 frauds and attempted frauds in London, Kent, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

Jailed... Sakaria Aden (left), Yasser Abukar and Mohammed Dahir

Jailed... Sakaria Aden (left), Yasser Abukar and Mohammed Dahir - Credit: MPS

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The gang persuaded pensioners to hand over cash or credit cards to “couriers” turning up on their doorstep, the victims believing they were from the police.

A 94-year-old man lost £130,000, while a 76-year-old woman had £135,000 taken.

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Detectives on a separate counter-terrorism operation spotted irregular bank transfers in 2014 to a man later identified as having travelled to Syria.

The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command then linked several courier frauds across the country and discovered 16 telephone lines the gang used to make almost 5,700 calls to 3,800 different numbers.

At the centre of the scam was Abukar, the organiser, directing it from his north London address.

“They callously and systematically defrauded elderly people of their life-savings,” Cmdr Dean Haydon of the Counter Terrorism Command said after last yesterday’s sentences. “Had we not arrested them, the group may have gone on to defraud many more people.”

Similar frauds were first revealed in the East London Advertiser back in 2013, when a minicab controller at Westferry Cars on the Isle of Dogs smelt a rat after receiving a hurried booking to take a 92-year-old woman to her bank in Poplar to withdraw cash.

The bank and police were alerted—and the scammers were foiled.

The woman’s nephew, Simon Lucas, told the paper at the time: “My aunt was saved from losing her life savings by the quick actions of the controller.”

But tricksters reappeared a year later when pensioners had couriers calling at their homes in Poplar, Bethnal Green, Whitechapel and Stepney.

Six months on, a similar scam emerged—but this time involving the Met’s anti-terrorist command which led to yesterday’s sentences for conspiracy to defraud or money laundering.

Fahim Islam, 21, from Monthope Road in Whitechapel, got five years and three months, while gang-leader Makzhumi Abukar, 24, from Holloway, was slapped with seven years and four months.

Anrul Islam, 24, of Hedgemans Road, Dagenham, got 16 months, Nathan Fagan-Gayle, 29, from Mitcham, 20 months, and Achmed Ahmed, 23, from Holloway, four years and two months.

The three found guilty of conspiracy by a jury were Sakaria Aden, 22, from Stoke Newington, who got six-and-a-half years, Yasser Abukar, 24, from Holloway, given six years, and Mohamed Dahir, 23, from Finsbury Park, 21 months.

A ninth man is due for sentence later this month, Warsame Sheik, 30, from White City, for money laundering.

Two other gang members have already been jailed, one last month and the other back in September, bringing the gang’s overall jail terms to 37-and-a-half years—so far.

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