Two bankers and accountant jailed for plundering almost £400,000 from customers

A pair of bankers and an accountant were jailed for plundering almost £400,000 from customers – by telling them they were being defrauded.

Banking clerks Taminder Virdi, 33, and Abubakar Salim, 36, transferred the funds of TSB customers into their own accounts after gleaning their details – by telling the victims they had fallen victim to fraud.

The 65 fraudulent accounts were controlled by accountant Babar Hussain, 40, who syphoned the cash into seven more.

Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) discovered the scam after one victim reported £56,000 had gone missing.

Each of the victims, in their seventies, were singled out during their trips to the bank in Stoke Newington, north east London.

Hussain, from East Ham, east London was arrested in July 2016, where he was caught with fraudulently obtained driving licenses.

These were used by Virdi, from Ilford, Essex and Salim, of Leyton, east London along with fake gas and electricity bills to open the accounts.

When interviewed, Hussain claimed that part of his work involved managing bank accounts for immigrants just arriving in the UK.

Text messages revealed more victims of fraud – with Virdi and Salim abusing their access to the accounts of the elderly.

When Viridi was arrested in November 2016 he had left TSB following an internal fraud investigation and was working for Santander.

The fraudster continued to prey upon customers at the bank, but was immediately suspended after managers went to the police.

TSB later dismissed Salim after an internal investigation and alerted police, leading to his arrest in May 2017.

Credit;SWNS Taminder Virdi, Babar Hussain & Abubakar Salim

All three were charged with fraud by abuse of position and money laundering – and the victims were reimbursed by the banks.

Hussain pleaded guilty to all offences before the start of his trial on March 25 and was jailed for five years and four months at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Virdi and Salim were convicted on April 29 following a six-week trial 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.

“He was aided by two corrupt bank workers who abused their positions of trust, using false documents to set up bank accounts to launder the hard-earned savings of their unsuspecting victims.

“As soon as the first victim reported the theft we used our specialist cyber capabilities to follow the money and established the real world identities of these criminals.

“We are committed to working with partners to target professional enablers involved in cybercrime.”

 

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