Scambuster team secures prosecution of mobility fraudster
A Birmingham based mobility fraudster was today (13 September 2013) sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court to three years in prison and disqualified from being a company director for seven years following an investigation by the Regional Trading Standards Scambuster Team.
Basharat Bashir, 33, of Eltonia Croft in Sheldon, had previously pleaded guilty to a total of 19 offences, including 17 offences of fraud contrary to the Fraud Act 2006
Mr Bashir was a director of Mobility World (UK) Ltd, and attracted customers from across the Midlands, including Birmingham, Solihull, Wolverhampton, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Dudley and Sandwell.
Consumers complained about the failure of the company to deliver items that had been ordered and paid for. On several occasions, having paid a deposit, consumers would be revisited by Mr Bashir who would offer a discount if the consumer was willing to pay the balance up front in cash prior to delivery. Several consumers took up this offer but still never received either the goods or their money back.
In some cases where payment had been made via a bank card, Mr Bashir also used the customer’s bank card number to pay for goods and services for himself, including paying his TV subscription, paying his mobile phone bill and also renting several vehicles.
One such victim was Mr Gripton in Tipton, who sadly passed away in May 2011 and whose bank card was used to pay for goods and services totalling just over £6,000. This was in addition to the £3275 that Mr Gripton had paid out for a mattress which was never delivered. Luckily, Mr Gripton’s case was taken up by a friend of the family, Nicola Hillman and his niece, Jackie Jones, who were able to recover some of the money back for him by approaching his bank.
The prosecution presented evidence from 11 victims who had paid out approximately £16,000 for a range of mobility items that never arrived.
As well as the 17 Fraud Act offences, Mr Bashir also pleaded guilty to an offence of fraudulent trading, contrary to s.993 of the Companies Act 2006 and to an offence of money laundering, contrary to s.327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The offences had been committed during 2009 and 2010.
In addition to Mr Basharat being sentenced, his wife Sophia Munir (34) also of Eltonia Croft had earlier received a caution for an offence of money laundering contrary to s.327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
'Criminals who deceive consumers by tricking them into paying for products or services they have no intention of delivering can cause enormous harm to those on low incomes and in the worst case may destroy the lives of individuals and families,' said Lord Toby Harris, chair of the National Trading Standards Board. 'Trading standards are working extremely hard to tackle these despicable criminals – the specialist Scambusters Team, funded by the National Trading Standards Board, is working with local authority trading standards services to bring these fraudsters to justice.'
The CEnTSA Scambuster Team is hosted on behalf of the Central England Region by Birmingham City Council. The Team is one of 10 Regional teams across the UK, and reports to the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB).
The NTSB brings together trading standards experts from services across England and Wales to prioritise, fund and coordinate national and regional enforcement cases. It is responsible for gathering intelligence from around the country to combat rogue traders and tackle priorities such as internet scams, illegal money lending and other issues that go beyond local authority boundaries
For more information about this case contact the regional Scambusters office on 0121 464 5668 or to speak to the National Trading Standards Board regarding a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
Scambusters is a NTSB funded project aimed at targeting rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing a support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
- Central Trading Standards Authorities (CENTSA)
- North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
- Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
- Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
- Tri Region Enforcement Capacity (TREC), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LOTSA)
- Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
- Yorkshire and the Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
- The Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
DATE: 16 September 2013