30 years for fraud gang who tricked elderly Yorkshire residents out of money

A fraudster who played his part in tricking elderly people across Yorkshire has been jailed.

Nasar Munir was sentenced to nine years and nine months at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday for his part in a gang who defrauded dozens of elderly and vulnerable residents out of their money.

Munir, of Bradford, was convicted alongside Mohammed Mansha Abbas, Mohammed Zulfqar Abbas, Mohammed Vaqaas Abbas and Imran Shan, after they set up a company called Bespoke Home Security Ltd and visited vulnerable people in their homes, often staying with them for hours using aggressive sales tactics.

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The five operated from an office set up in Cleckheaton, where in the same building Munir set up another company, National Survey Line Ltd, to cold-call residents scaring them with figures of rising crime so as to scare them into thinking they needed to upgrade their home security measures.

Nasar Munir, of Bradford, jailed for conspiracy to defraud. Picture: West Yorkshire Trading Standards

Leeds Crown Court heard how the five laughed about their crimes over a WhatsApp group chat, identifying their ideal target as a "single lady 89 years old" who was "blind", "disabled" or with "Alzheimer's".

Munir's four co-defendants were jailed earlier this month for a collective 19 years and six months after they all pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud.

Munir's sentence this week brings their total jail time to nearly 30 years.

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The five men targeted elderly and vulnerable people under the guise of a legitimate home security services company. Picture: Adobe Stock Images

It comes as figures from the Office of National Statistics today (Thursday) suggested that cases of fraud have risen by almost a fifth in one year.

There were an estimated 3.8 million incidents of fraud in the year ending March 2019, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), a rise of 17% from the previous year.

However, in nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of all cases, the victim had not been contacted or interacted with the perpetrator and when there was contact, the most common methods were online, by email or by telephone.

The numbers also suggested that over-65s were wising up to methods of fraud and were less likely to fall victim, while households with annual incomes greater than £50,000 were more likely.

Leeds Crown Court

Following Munir's sentencing, His Honour Judge Stubbs QC addressed the defendant's callous attitude towards his victims.

He said: “You removed from victims as much money as you thought you could get away with by a variety of methods.”

Speaking of the rising fraud statistics, Victim Support chief executive Diana Fawcett said: "We are not surprised by new findings, released today, which show a rise in fraud both online and in person.

"Through our work, we have seen more and more people being defrauded by scammers, as increasingly sophisticated methods are being used to deceive people of all ages and backgrounds.

Fraud figures have risen by around a fifth, the Office of National Statistics has said

"The psychological and financial impact of the financial loss associated with fraud is significant, and it is vital that anyone affected knows that they are entitled to practical and emotional support."