The head of a fraud gang who lived a celebrity lifestyle in Pakistan after scamming millions of pounds from small businesses in the UK has been jailed for 11 years.
It is believed that the ring leader, Feezan Hameed, and his gang scammed £113million from UK firms by using a technique called ‘vishing’ which involves calling the victim and persuading them they are talking to their banks.
Hameed escaped to Pakistan after the scam was uncovered and lived a celebrity lifestyle, spending millions on jewellery, trips to Dubai, extravagant homes in Lahore and even flew out car polishers from Scotland to Pakistan to polish his Porsche Cayennes.
Nicknamed ‘Fizzy’, he also owned a fleet of other luxury cars including Bentley’s and a Lamborghini’s.
He even hung out with Pakistani Pop stars including Bilal Saeed and claimed to have been producing a music video for the popular singer.
Hameed and his gang who were making £3million a month were eventually stopped after defrauding 750 UK bank customers in what the Metropolitan Police described as the biggest cyber-fraud scam they have ever seen.
Hameed escaped to Pakistan before he could be arrested and warrants for his arrest were issued last year.
Between 2013 and 2015 the stole £113 million, of which £47 million has been recovered and the other £66 million is believed to have been laundered from the UK to Dubai and Pakistan.
One solicitors’ firm in Liverpool was said to have lost more than £500,000 while another law firm lost £670,000.
A company in Gloucestershire was drained of more than £2million in less than two and a half hours.
He was finally caught in November after being caught using a fake passport to board a flight from Paris to Pakistan and he was eventually returned to the UK to face justice.
He refused to name the insider at Lloyds Bank who had passed on details of customers to him or name any other fraudsters involved throughout the trial and police questioning.
He was convicted last month after a trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Judge Peter Testar described Fizzy as a ‘very strong personality’ who is ‘persuasive and authoritative to the point of bullying’.
The judge said: ‘The damage to the people running these businesses was potentially enormous, it was potentially devastating.
Eight other members of the fraud gang were also jailed.
Hameed, of Pollokshields, Glasgow, admitted conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to convert and transfer criminal property and faces sentence on September 16.
Nouman Chaudhary, 21, of Glasgow, was sentenced to three and a half years for conspiracy to money launder.
Abdul Iqbal, 23, of Edinburgh, was sentenced to 21 months for conspiracy to money launder.
Syed Ali Amish, 24, of Luton, was sentenced to 32 months for conspiracy to launder money.
Mohammed Mehtab, 35, of Watford, was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to launder money. He allowed more than £9,000 to go through his account.
Sisters Emma, 23, and Amy, 24, Daramola, both of Barking, east London both worked for Lloyds and were handed suspended sentences earlier this year after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit fraud by abuse of position.
Account business advisor at Lloyds, Jones Opare-Addo, 58, of Putney, west London was also jailed for five years for leaking account details to the gang.