Detectives have released CCTV footage of a man they would like to speak to after a woman was conned out of thousands of pounds of her life savings.
At about 15:00hrs on Thursday, 9 February, the 51-year-old victim received a call on her landline at her home in Waltham Forest from someone claiming to be a Metropolitan Police Service detective called James Portman.
He stated that she had been the victim of fraud and her identification had been stolen.
To verify his details, ‘DC Portman’ said he was going to hang up the phone and asked the victim to call 999 and quote a crime reference number. The victim was told that the operator would then transfer the call to DC Portman.
In reality, the conman did not hang up the phone and the victim did not speak to a genuine 999 operator.
The victim was then given a set of instructions by DC Portman and was told to visit a bank on Leytonstone High Road to withdraw cash. She was then told to go to a bureau du change in Walthamstow to withdraw Euros and American dollars.
When she returned home at about 18:00hrs, she received another phone call from DC Portman who explained that a courier would be attending her home address to collect the money she had withdrawn. The conman also told the victim he would require her bank cards for evidence.
The victim handed over the money and her bank cards to the courier who said he was delivering the items to Hammersmith police station.
Some 20 minutes later the victim received a phone call from DC Portman who said the items had been delivered.
On Friday, 10 February, the victim received further instructions telling her to go to a jewellery shop on New Bond Street to buy a high-end watch. She was then told to deliver the watch to a courier in Bond Street.
The woman met the same courier as before and handed over the watch.
On Monday, 13 February, the victim received a call from DC Portman telling her that she must withdraw everything or she could lose her life savings. She was first instructed to go to a bank in Wanstead to transfer her savings into her flex account. She was then told to go to a jewellery shop on Old Bond Street to buy another high-end watch.
She was instructed to go to Dover Street in Piccadilly to hand the watch over to a courier, who was a man the victim had not seen before. The victim was on the phone to DC Portman at the time when her mobile died.
The victim asked a member of public if she could borrow their phone and she dialled 101 and quoted DC Portman’s name and the crime reference number she was given. The operator told the victim the crime reference number was incorrect and that there was no DC James Portman in the system.
The victim became suspicious and on Tuesday, 14 February she reported the incident to the police.
Detective Constable James Egley, the investigating officer from the Met’s Operation Falcon, said: "These conmen went to extreme lengths to gain the victim’s trust to deliberately deceive her out of her hard-earned life-savings.
"We would appeal for anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV to contact us or Crimestoppers.
"People should be aware that the police would never send a courier service to collect items and would never ask for your PIN, bank cards, to withdraw money or to buy expensive items.
"Any suspicions should be reported to the police.
"We would urge people to be vigilant at all times so they can avoid falling victim to a similar scam."
Anyone who recognises the man or has any information should call Operation Falcon on 020 7230 8203 or Tweet @MetCC
Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
For advice on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud visit www.met.police.uk
The Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command has released images of four men wanted in connection with separate sexual offences on the bus network.
[A] Manohar Singh, 28, [12.08.1988] of no fixed address but known to frequent the boroughs of Hillingdon and Ealing, was arrested on 9 June 2016 at a bus stop in Hillingdon for sexually assaulting a teenage girl on a route 207 bus in Hayes, Hillingdon, on 5 November 2015. He was charged with sexually touching a female and bailed to Ealing Magistrates’ Court on 8 July 2016 but failed to appear.
[B] Fabian Downie, 46, [27.07.1970] is of no fixed address but is known to travel on buses all over London and has previously been seen at White City bus station and New Cross bus station. He was charged on 9 January with sexually touching a female on a route 36 bus to Victoria on 12 November 2016. He was bailed to Westminster Magistrates' Court on 31 January but failed to appear. Downie is also wanted on a recall to prison for breaching probation and release conditions.
[C] Wilson Figueroa, 50, [10.09.1966] of no fixed address but known to frequent Greenwich, Southwark and central London, was arrested on 29 October 2015 in Fennel Street, Greenwich for sexually assaulting a teenage girl on a route 53 bus in Woolwich on 1 September 2015. He was charged with sexually touching a female and was bailed to Bexley Magistrates’ Court on 1 December 2015 but failed to appear.
[D] Salih Simer Akin, 31, [10/08/1985] of Church Street, Enfield was arrested on 5 October 2016 for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl on a route W8 bus in Church Street, Enfield. He was charged with sexually touching a child under 13. He was bailed to Wood Green Crown Court on 6 March, but he failed to appear. He was found guilty in his absence.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 020 7232 7492 or at RTPC-FU@met.pnn.police.uk or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Alternatively you can tweet @MetCC with any information.
Detectives investigating the alleged sexual assault of a schoolboy in Willesden Green continue to appeal for witnesses and information.
They also continue to appeal for anyone with any information about a the identity of a man captured on CCTV.
On Wednesday, 11 January at about 15:50hrs the 12-year-old victim was approached by a man whilst in Park Avenue, NW2.
The man persuaded the boy to go to an address in nearby Griffin Close, NW10, with him and it was there that the man assaulted the victim.
The man has been described as Southeast Asian in appearance, aged in his mid 20s, around 5ft 4ins tall with a slim build. He was wearing a grey coloured beanie type hat, a light green coloured long sleeved top, grey coloured trousers and he was pushing a bicycle.
A 22-year-old man was arrested on 17 January. He was bailed to date in March.
Anyone that can assist police is urged to contact detectives on 020 8733 5009 or via the police non-emergency number 101, or by tweeting @MetCC.
To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.
APPEAL: Dr Gul-Nawaz Khan Akbar of Mumtaz Restaurant will be appealing the fraud charge later this month after being found guilty by a jury at Bradford Crown Court.
The ‘driving force’ behind of one of Bradford’s most profound food businesses is set to appeal a charge of fraud later this month after being found guilty, despite never benefiting from any financial gain.
Dr Gul-Nawaz Khan Akbar, of Mumtaz, says he is determined to overturn the ruling following a £100,000 fraud case which even the recorder on the day described as an ‘unfortunate’ and ‘unusual’ decision by the jury at Bradford Crown Court.
Dr Akbar was given a nine-month suspended sentence for one year and ordered to pay £34,000 in costs after a conviction for fraud by misrepresentation.
The trial centred on a £100,000 grant application from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) which was supposed to go towards the new £5million Mumtaz factory on Legrams Lane in Bradford.
However, following complications with planning back in 2011, alongside a number of unavoidable delays, the firm were unable to spend the £1.1million they needed to, in order to receive the funding, before the 11th December deadline.
As no invoices existed for the building’s development, due to it still being in negotiation stage with the contractor, Dr Akbar says he submitted ‘dummy invoices’ as allegedly advised by BIS as a way of ensuring his bid could be placed before the deadline – a procedure Dr Akbar says he was told would be ‘okay’ to proceed with.
Unbeknown to Dr Akbar, the change in government policy led to BIS being ordered to withdraw grants by the Treasury wherever possible.
In order to achieve this, the Mumtaz application was turned away, despite their ‘dummy invoices’ initially being approved and then were to be exchanged for actual invoices when made available just months later to Mumtaz’s representing solicitors.
Speaking about the case and his upcoming appeal, Dr Akbar said he was disappointed to see his business ‘targeted’ by a ‘fraud’ case which threatened to hamper Mumtaz’s reputation.
“I feel that Mumtaz has been targeted in a case that even the judge described as ‘unfortunate’,” Dr Akbar said.
CAPPE: The Legrams Lane site is set to begin operating later this month after several unavoidable delays in its development.
“We have already invested in excess of £5million of our own funds into the project and will have to spend a further £1million before the development is completed.
“This £100,000, which we never even received, was made available to us, and all I did was follow the instructions given to me.
“We were trying to help the city benefit, by creating hundreds of new jobs, and this investment would have gone towards funding the development.
“I feel like somebody has tried to make an example of us, like there is a hidden agenda to target a big name business.”
The jury at the trial consulted for less than an hour before a guilty verdict was put forward, a time frame Dr Akbar and his defence team argues was ‘clearly not enough’ for them to have considered all the evidence.
“My family and I were truly shocked by the verdict after all the evidence was heard throughout the five day trial.” said Dr Akbar. “I am determined to fight on.
“I am grateful to the trial judge who described this as a very unusual case and for stating that I am a businessman who …’through his own diligence and hard work, together with that of his family, had contributed a huge amount to the Bradford community and had created a business that Bradford was rightly proud of’.
“We have 28 days to appeal the verdict and will follow it through however far we have to go.”
Meanwhile, Recorder Hawks said: “I regard this as a highly unusual case because the fact of the matter is that you didn’t get the money.”
“You did build the factory and we’ve all seen the structure that now exists and will no doubt carry your successful business forward.”
Recorder Hawks added that it was ‘a great shame’ to see a businessman with such a background and with as much experience as Dr Akbar convicted of an offence of fraud.