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Police bust ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of stolen goods: 18 year jail sentence now that the genie is out of the bottle

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CRIMINAL MASTERMIND: Aamer Ali was caught red handed loading stolen computer monitors into his rented offices

CRIMINAL MASTERMIND: Aamer Ali was caught red handed loading stolen computer monitors into his rented offices

Police have finally busted open an illicit ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of stolen and counterfeit goods in Bradford city centre, where an incredible £1.25 million worth of items had been laundered through PayPal accounts.

The discovery was the culmination of four long years of detective work and this month resulted in two men being sent down for the crime - each receiving a nine year sentence for a huge conspiracy on the popular selling site eBay.

Detectives say that the plot involved the sale of at least £460,000 of stolen items.

Ringleader, Aamer Ali, was caught ‘red-handed’ unloading stolen computer monitors from a lorry into his rented offices in West Riding House in Cheapside, Bradford.

After his arrest in February last year, police were able to seize a huge haul of counterfeit goods from the offices, including over 800 games consoles.

The stolen property included hundreds of bottles of perfume and even garden furniture.

After a five week trial at Bradford Crown Court, Ali, 32, and Naveed Zaman, 30, were convicted of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and money laundering offences.

Zaman had £10,000 in his car when he was arrested in March 2012whilst a further £65,000 was found in a holdall at his home.

During their investigation, detectives uncovered a sophisticated and organised enterprise where stolen electronic items, typically televisions and computer monitors, along with counterfeit games consoles and game controllers, were sold on eBay.

Zaman - of Rhodes Street, Halifax - and Ali, of Richmond Road, Halifax, recruited others, who will be sentenced next month, and used their eBay, PayPal and bank accounts to buy and sell items on a grand scale, with most of the items stolen from lorries throughout England.

In 2010, Ali was jailed for five years for running a counterfeit goods racket involving copied computer games and DVDs as well as stolen TV sets and laptops.

9 YEARS: Naveed Zaman will go to prison for nearly a decade for his involvement in the crimes

9 YEARS: Naveed Zaman will go to prison for nearly a decade for his involvement in the crimes

Zaman, his lifelong friend, received a 12 month suspended sentence for his involvement in that scam.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, this week made a five year Serious Crime Prevention Order against them both to protect the public.

He said: “This was professional crime, it was sophisticated crime: it was very well planned and executed. It happened over a long period of time and it was group activity.”

Detective Constable Tony Chapman and Detectve Constable Ashley Nuttall were publicly commended by the judge for their excellent work on the long-running investigation.

After the case, Det Con Chapman, of Calderdale Proceeds of Crime Team, said: “Zaman and Ali were the masterminds behind this professional and sophisticated scheme, recruiting others who could be trusted in order to keep their own identity anonymous.

“This lengthy and complex investigation has attacked the criminality marshalled by Zaman and Ali and the respective sentences reflect the seriousness of their offending.”

Extremist scams

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UNDELIVERED: The former spokesman for an extremist group sold iPads online but customers didn’t receive them

UNDELIVERED: The former spokesman for an extremist group sold iPads online but customers didn’t receive them

Former terrorist sympathiser arrested for £1m eBay fraud

A man has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a £1m-plus fraud on eBay to fund terrorism.

Hassan Butt, 35, from Manchester, is a former spokesman for the extremist group, al-Muhajiroun, and claimed to be an al-Qaida insider – something he later denied following attacks on the capital.

He claims to have sent scores of Brits to terrorist training camps, including Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7th July 2005 tube bombings, and in the past has said he would be proud to be a suicide bomber.

ARRESTED: Hassan Butt angered hundreds of eBay users after failing to deliver orders of electronic goods purchased on the popular website

ARRESTED: Hassan Butt angered hundreds of eBay users after failing to deliver orders of electronic goods purchased on the popular website

He renounced Islamic extremism after the 7/7 bombings, but admitted in court four years later he was a ‘professional liar’ who told ‘the media [what they] wanted to hear’.

After the attacks in London, Butt said he had seen the error of his ways and publicly spoke out against extremism.

However, in September last year Butt was accused of conning hundreds of customers by failing to deliver orders for iPhones, iPads and games consoles on the online auction site, eBay.

He was subsequently arrested in Manchester in relation to a company called Mi Genie, which ‘sold’ electronic goods on eBay.  A host of angry customers had complained they did not receive goods they had paid for and police were contacted leading to the company’s eBay account shutting down.

Another man, believed to be Butt’s business partner, was also arrested on the same day in nearby Bury, Lancashire.

Both men were bailed last week.

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “Two men arrested on Wednesday 23rd September 2015 by officers from the Metropolitan police’s counter terrorism command (SO15), supported by colleagues from Greater Manchester police, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud appeared on police bail on 18th November and were further arrested on fraud offences.”

An eBay spokesman said: “No customer was left out of pocket. We refunded every customer in full at the time of the event. We have dedicated in-house detection teams and alert systems in place to identify suspicious behaviour very quickly.

“Our teams share information with law enforcement agencies around the world to keep our marketplace safe for customers.”