Criminal sentenced after posing as police officer to steal over £26,000 from elderly victims

A man from West London has been sentenced to five years imprisonment at Inner London Crown Court after attempting to steal £115,730 from elderly victims, by posing as a police officer and tricking them into handing over their money. The average age of the fraudster’s victims was 77 years old. His eldest victim was 93.

The sentencing follows investigation and arrest by specialist banking industry sponsored police unit, the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU). 

Mohammed Ali conspired with others in January 2020 to commit fraud by contacting bank customers and pretending to be a police officer. They would then trick the customers by purporting that they were investigating compromised bank accounts, for example lying that staff at local branches were stealing money from customer accounts. 

One victim was convinced to go to their bank branch and withdraw £5,000 from their account. The victim then handed their money over to a fraudulent courier arranged by Ali, who then took the money, pretending it was for safe keeping. 

Through the DCPCU’s investigation, they were able to obtain phones that Ali had used to make the fraudulent calls to bank customers. Police found hundreds of potential victim’s phone numbers on these devices. Whilst most of those called were not tricked into being scammed, multiple people were tricked into handing over between £5,000 and £8,800 and a total of £26,000 was stolen.

Detective Constable Ben O’Shea said:

Mohammed Ali’s actions were reprehensible. Through sheer manipulation he was able to target customers and trick them into thinking he was there to protect them, when in fact he was abusing their trust to callously steal their money.

Fraud like this can have a devastating impact on victims both emotionally and psychologically. Thankfully, by working with the banking and finance industry, we were able to put a stop to this criminal activity.

This sentencing should scare criminals who seek to financially benefit from crime. You will be stopped, and you will face justice.

UK Finance data shows that in 2023, all types of impersonation scams resulted in £136.2 million of fraud losses. Scams specifically involving impersonation of police or bank staff resulted in fraud losses of £78.9 million.

For more information on how to protect yourself from courier fraud, follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Campaign. 

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Notes to editor

  • The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) was established in 2002 as a unique, proactive and fully operational police unit with a national remit, formed as a collaboration between UK Finance, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service.  It is funded by and provides services to the members of UK Finance’s Economic Crime Fraud stream. 
  • UK Finance 2023 Half Year Fraud Report