A man has been jailed for fraud offences committed against elderly victims.
Mohammed Koita, 22 of Clandon Road, Ilford, appeared at Bromley Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 23 September where he pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud by false representation and was sentenced as follows:
Count one – six months imprisonment and ordered to pay £122 victim surcharge.
Count two – six months imprisonment.
Sentences are to run concurrently.
Count one: On 18 December 2019, the victim, a 70-year-old man, was contacted by phone from someone claiming to be from Barclays Bank. The caller said there were issues with the victim’s bank card and that he needed to return it to them by post, he then added that one of their collection teams would be in the area tomorrow and they would pick it up.
The following day a male, who we now know to have been Koita, called at the victims address in Bromley claiming to be from the ‘collection team’. The victim was holding his debit card in his hand, but becoming wary of the caller, told the male that he had changed his mind and would deliver the card to the bank in person. At this, Koita snatched the card from the victim’s hand and fled in a black coloured Volkswagen.
Around twenty minutes later £20 was debited from the victim’s bank account at a petrol station. Further payments to a clothing company for £1965 and a £500 cash withdrawal were declined by the bank.
On viewing the footage of the petrol station where the £20 had been used to purchase fuel, officers saw Koita on the CCTV, wearing a distinctive red puff jacket that was later found at his home during a search of his address.
Count two: On the afternoon of Friday, 22 February 2019 the 84-year-old female victim was at her home in Dorset when she received a call from a man calling himself ‘David Stirling’ and claiming to be from Natwest Bank. He told the victim that there was a problem with her account and that someone would be sent to her address to give her a new bank card. He said that the courier would be called Simon and he would quote the security code CMO12.
She then received a second call from a man calling himself ‘William Wallace’ who claimed to be the delivery/collection coordinator and told the victim that her card would be delivered soon.
Shortly after, the suspect arrived saying only “I’m Simon and the code is CM012”. The victim was given a plain envelope with a card inside. When she opened the envelope she found not a bank card, but a Google Play gift card.
When she asked for an explanation she was told that it was a thank you for her years as a loyal customer.
During their conversation, the victim was tricked into handing over her bank card and pin number and was told that her new card would arrive on Monday.
Half an hour later £100 was taken from the account via an ATM in Westbourne.
The victim handed the envelope that had contained the Google Play card to police and a fingerprint match was found identifying Mohammed Koita.
Detective Scott Pounder of the Met’s North East Economic Crime Unit said: “These were cowardly crimes committed against vulnerable elderly victims.
“Crimes of this type can go unreported due to victim’s feeling embarrassed that they had been duped by the fraudsters, but this should not be the case. Koita had fed layers of calls and information to the victims in these two incidents, each call or detail further reinforcing the impression that he was genuine
“Given the overwhelming evidence gathered against him, it was only right that Koita entered guilty pleas. This, at least, prevented the victims from going through a trial process.
“Although no physical injuries were inflicted, the effects of becoming a victim of crime, particularly within your own home, run far deeper than a loss of cash or property.
“I hope that the sentence handed down affords the victims some closure to what were clearly deeply upsetting incidents.”