Cruel conman jailed after elderly Derbyshire vctims lose thousands In courier fraud scam

A fraudster has been jailed for his part in a cruel scam where vulnerable victims across Derbyshire were tricked into handing over their bank cards and PIN numbers.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 7:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 11:09 am

Mohamed Chowdhury, of Haverhill Grove, Wombwell, targeted elderly people across South Yorkshire and Derbyshire in a 'courier fraud' scam, with victims' losses totalling thousands of pounds.

During the scam, the victims - who were from Chesterfield and Calver in Derbyshire, as well as South Yorkshire - were called between March and May last year by a man who claimed to be from their bank or the police.

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Mohamed Chowdhury conned elderly people into handing over bank cards, then stole their money using cash machines.

He would talk to them about a fraud which is currently happening on their accounts. A number of the victims were persuaded to enter the PINs for their accounts into the phone as 'security', and then asked to place their bank cards into envelopes and leave them on their doorstep, where a courier would collect them to be used as 'evidence'.

After being picked up, the cards were then later used at cash machines to withdraw large sums of money.

There were seven victims in total, who lost over £7,000 between them. Two of the victims – one from Doncaster and one from Chesterfield – sadly died before they could see justice being done.

Father-of-four Chowdhury, 46, was linked to the crimes through a BMW X3 which was seen near the address of one of the victims. Evidence including ATM receipts and bank cards were later found in the vehicle.

Following a joint investigation by a number of officers from South Yorkshire Police and Derbyshire Constabulary, Chowdhury pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud by false representation, one count of attempt theft and one count of theft. He was jailed for 12 months at Derby Crown Court on Thursday 6 May. In addition, his vehicle has been made subject to a forfeiture.

Chowdhury had pleaded not guilty to five further fraud offences which will lie on file.

DS Richard Kubon, from Derbyshire Constabulary's Vulnerable Fraud Unit, said: "Chowdhury, like many scam artists, preyed on the very best intentions of his victims – people who simply thought they were doing their civic duty and helping a police officer. The reality was they were lining the pockets of this uncaring conman.

“Sadly, one of his Derbyshire victims, a 82-year-old woman from Chesterfield, died before Chowdhury could be brought to justice. However, I hope that the sentence he has received this week brings closure to the rest of the family.

“I would also urge anyone with vulnerable friends or relatives to make sure they are aware of these types of scams and help protect others from becoming victims of similar crimes.”

DS Samantha Erabadda, from South Yorkshire Police's Fraud Co-ordination Team, said: "Chowdhury is a callous fraudster who was part of a heartless scam targeting vulnerable people in our communities.

"These victims believed they were helping with an ongoing police or bank investigation and it's truly awful their goodwill was exploited in this way. The scam even took advantage of last year's Covid lockdown, using the pandemic as an excuse for victims to leave their bank cards on their doorsteps rather than the bogus 'investigation' taking place face-to-face.”