Bankers Jailed

Three men have been jailed after defrauding elderly bank customers of more than £390,000 and laundering the cash through multiple fake accounts.

Taminder Virdi from Ilford, and Abubakar Salim from Leyton, who both worked at the same TSB branch in Stoke Newington in 2014, transferred funds out of customer accounts into 65 fraudulent beneficiary accounts they had opened.

These accounts were controlled by accountant Babar Hussain from East Ham.

Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) were alerted to their activity when one of the eight victims, all of whom were in their 70s, reported that £56,000 had been transferred out of their bank account without consent. That money was then deposited into seven beneficiary accounts opened in different names.

Hussain was arrested in 2016 and officers recovered a number of fraudulently obtained genuine driving licenses, which Virdi and Salim used along with fake gas and electric bills to open up the beneficiary accounts.

When he was interviewed, Hussain claimed that part of his work in the community involved opening and managing bank accounts for those just arriving in the UK with no fixed address.

Messages on Hussain’s mobile phone identified other victims of fraud, where Virdi and Salim abused their position within the bank to access their accounts and transfer money into beneficiary accounts.

Virdi was arrested in 2016 and Salim in 2017.

Following the internal investigations, TSB reported the incidents to the police and assisted the NCA fully with the investigation.

All three were charged with fraud by abuse of position and money laundering.

Hussain was jailed for five years and four months.

Virdi and Salim were found guilty in April 2019 and were sentenced to three years and six months and four years respectively.

Mike Hulett, Head of Operations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said:

“Hussain is a professional money launderer who used his accountancy knowledge to steal hundreds of thousands of pounds from elderly banking customers.

All the customers who lost money were fully reimbursed by the banks.

If you have any experiences with this kind of scam do let me know, by email.

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