Redbridge and Harold Hill fraudsters jailed over £750,000 London-wide roofing scam
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 October 2019
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Two fraudsters from Redbridge and Harold Hill have been jailed for their part in a London-wide roofing scam that conned pensioners out of three quarters of a million pounds.
Mahmoddum Nobi Siddique, aged 42, of Cobbetts Avenue, Redbridge; and Vytautas Glinskas, aged 33, of Coleridge Road, Harold Hill, both worked for Randhwana Roofing Ltd - a company which came to the attention of Trading Standards after staff were accused of cold calling and bullying vulnerable pensioners.
They and two other defendants would make their victims pay huge sums of money for unnecessary roofing work that was either not carried out or done to a poor standard.
One of the other defendants was Harprett Singh Randhawa, a 44-year-old from Hillingdon who was the registered owner of the business.
The second was Harinder Singh Arora - another 44-year-old from Hillingdon.
On Friday, October 11, all four were unanimously found guilty of fraud charges after a six week trial at Harrow Crown Court.
The company had first come to the attention of Trading Standards in 2017 after two Harrow homeowners, aged 84 and 86, were conned into making payments totalling £350,000.
Officers discovered more victims in Enfield, Haringey and Bromley - all of whom had faced the same fate after paying for Randhwana Roofing to carry out works.
Some were even left with no roof when they refused demands to pay more money.
The court heard how a further £400,000 sent to one of the company accounts in January 2018 was in fact payment for a fictitious scam investment bond, leaving a 92-year-old without his life savings, intended to pay for his wife's care.
Jurors also heard how Siddique used his banking experience to transfer money out of the UK.
Lord Toby Harris, chairman of National Trading Standards, said: "These criminals deliberately preyed on vulnerable consumers to fund their web of organised crimes - in some cases leaving victims without their life savings - and I hope these sentences bring some sense of justice to the victims involved.
"What began as an investigation into local doorstep crime quickly became a more expansive joint initiative between local and national trading standards officers to tackle an international money laundering operation.
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"This was a unique case that demonstrates the effectiveness and contribution of trading standards officers in tackling fraud and organised crime and I would like to thank and congratulate the investigative teams involved for securing these sentences."
Between September 2017 and March 2018, a total of £870,000 was taken from the six victims with £150,000 eventually being recovered by the banks.
Multiple dawn raids were executed across England and Wales during May 2018, leading to the arrest of Randhawa and Arora on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
Glinskas was in Lithuania at the time and later interviewed.
Further warrants were executed in London in September 2018 and a fourth defendant Mr Siddique was interviewed for his role in the transfer of large sums of the money via various company bank accounts.
A number of mobile phones, laptops and diaries recovered during those raids provided crucial evidence which was later used in court to ensure the fraudsters' convictions.
Expert witnesses called during the trial included building surveyors and a forensic accountant.
Siddique was found guilty of possessing and transferring more than £500,000 received from three of the victims.
He was sentenced to 6 years' imprisonment.
Glinskas was found guilty of the same offences as Siddique and was jailed for four and a half years.
Randhawa was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to five years for his involvement in roofing scams at five of the victim's homes.
Arora was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud for his involvement in roofing scams at two of the victim's addresses, for which he received £51,000.
He was sentenced to two and a half years.
Siddique, Glinskas and Randhawa were also banned from owning a business for 8 years.