News Business Crime & Financial Services 22nd Sep 2016

Narita Bahra Acts for Defendant Involved in £113 Million Money Laundering Cyber Scam

Yesterday saw the sentencing of an international money laundering ring who made in excess of £113 million conducting one of Britain’s biggest ever cyber scams cold-calling bank customers. Narita Bahra acted for Bushra Shabab, charged with conspiracy to launder money, she was the only member of the gang to receive a suspended sentence.

Between January 2013 and October 2015 the gang took £113 million from victims, of which £47 million has been recovered. The outstanding £66 million is believed to have been laundered from the UK, most likely to Dubai and Pakistan.

At its height, the criminal operation made between £1m and £2m per week and led to police mounting the biggest cyber-surveillance operation of its kind to arrest the gang.

Some 750 accountants and solicitors were targeted by the ring. They would use information leaked to them from corrupt insiders at RBS banking group and Lloyds to trick business banking customers into thinking the call they were receiving was from their lender.

Using sophisticated software, the bank accounts were drained while his cohorts jammed the firm’s phone lines to stop them alerting their bank to the massive losses.

The ring was ‘operated like a 9 to 5 business’ and they were extremely sophisticated in their techniques, displaying false telephone numbers on the phones of victims and disposing of pre-paid phones and dongles once they had completed a hit.

Feezan Hameed Choudhary, the ring leader, was jailed for 11 years, the other members of the gang, (excluding Narita’s client) were handed prison sentences ranging from 6 months to 6.5 years.

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