Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

FRAUDSTERS PROBED BY THE M.E.N. JAILED ; Customers from across the Country Were Scammed in Elaborate Operation. Where They Leased Top-of-the-Range Cars Which Then Failed to Arrive Where They Leased Top-of-the-Range Cars Which Then Failed to Arrive

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

FRAUDSTERS PROBED BY THE M.E.N. JAILED ; Customers from across the Country Were Scammed in Elaborate Operation. Where They Leased Top-of-the-Range Cars Which Then Failed to Arrive Where They Leased Top-of-the-Range Cars Which Then Failed to Arrive

Article excerpt

THREE fraudsters who conned people out of more than Pounds 100,000 in an elaborate car scam investigated by the MEN have been jailed.

John Owen, Abdul Wahid Qadir and Sahir Ashraf were behind the fraudulent operation of a vehicle leasing firm called Synergy Manchester in spring 2012.

Customers were conned into paying huge deposits to lease top-of- the-range cars including Audis and Mercedes which then failed to arrive, Bolton Crown Court was told.

There were 45 victims, who suffered an average loss of Pounds 1,500 to Pounds 2,000. A taxi firm in Merseyside lost Pounds 9,000 after paying a deposit to lease 10 cars.

But when the victims tried to contact the company to complain, they found that the phone lines were dead.

Police swooped on the trio following an M.E.N. investigation in 2012.

The brains behind the scam - a man named Abdul Quddus - was arrested but skipped bail and is now thought to be hiding abroad.

Henry Blackshaw, prosecuting, said: "This was a sophisticated operation.

"As well as having established, professional looking premises in Rochdale, considerable effort was put into the design of a website, the creation of business cards and other promotional literature that was used to con potential customers that they were dealing with a sound business."

Smartly-dressed Owen acted as the sales manager and travelled the country pitching deals to customers after they were coldcalled by workers at the firm. Qadir was the office manager who worked closely alongside Owen.

The court was told that Ashraf was the 'office junior' and 'trusted assistant', but had worked closely with Quddus and was with him when significant cash withdrawals were made.

Qadir, of Fifth Avenue, Bolton, and Owen, of Kitson Hill Road, Mirfield, Yorkshire, both admitted conspiracy to defraud.

Ashraf, of Delaunays Road, Crumpsall, admitted concealing the proceeds of crime. He also pleaded guilty to five unrelated fraud offences.

All three men used false names in a bid to avoid detection. …

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