- Fraudster was part of a gang of three who targeted elderly people for cash
- Scam was uncovered by police investigating the funding of terrorism
- Although investigated they were never charged with terror offences
- Lawyers for one of the gang handed letter from Corbyn to judge in the case
- But today a judge turned down pleas for the conman to be given bail
- See more news on Labour leader Corbyn at www.dailymail.co.uk/labour
A lawyer today tried to use a letter from Jeremy Corbyn to keep a Muslim fraudster accused of funding Islamic State terrorism out of jail over Christmas.
The Labour leader wrote a letter on behalf of Mohamed Dahir, asking for him to be granted bail when he was first charged.
The plea from Mr Corbyn emerged as Dahir, 23, and three other fraudsters were found guilty of conning pensioners out of their life savings of almost £1million by posing as police officers. Five others pleaded guilty.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote a letter on behalf of Mohamed Dahir (left), asking for him to be granted bail
Detectives believed that the gang ran a ‘bank of terror’ sending some of the money to Syria to support Islamic State, a court hearing was told in May.
Mr Corbyn originally sent the letter on behalf of Dahir, who is one of his Islington constituents, in May – four months before he became leader of the Labour Party.
He argued that Dahir had ‘roots in the area’ and was unlikely to abscond. The letter played a part in securing bail for him during the course of the trial.
But when Dahir’s barrister Patrick Harte attempted to use the letter again yesterday (Thu) to keep him on bail until sentencing, judge Anuja Dhir QC refused and remanded him in custody.
A photo of cash found on the mobile phone of another member of the gang. The money was never recovered
She said that now he had been found guilty there were significant grounds to believe he would fail to appear at his sentencing hearing next year.
The nine fraudsters are facing jail after conning the elderly out of £904,000 by pretending to be policemen investigating bank account scams.
The conmen told their victims their money was not safe in their accounts - and needed to be moved.
If any of them became suspicious they advised them to call their bank’s fraud department or ring 999. But the conmen kept the line open so the pensioners were actually speaking to one of the fraudsters.
Video footage shows another member of the gang, Achmed Abdulaziz Ahmed, going to the address of a victim in Dorset and then leaving with a package of money - the victim believed him to be a police officer
They preyed on the ‘frailty, vulnerability and isolation’ of pensioners with an average age of 83 and tricked them transferring their life savings into another account or into handing over cash.
The pensioners from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bedfordshire, London and Kent thought they were talking to genuine policemen and willingly handed over their money for safekeeping.
Some were told they were helping an important undercover investigation and were ordered not to tell the bank clerk or local police officers in case they were part of the scam.
The gang, based in London, also played on family ties, allegedly claiming a victim’s grandchild had been caught up in the fraud and arrested and that cooperating with police was the only way they could help.
Pensioner William Goodall was even persuaded to cancel an important medical appointment so that he could help ‘police’ with their undercover operation.
Sakaria Aden (left) and Mohammed Abokar (right) were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud after a trial
Anrul Islam (left) and Makhzumi Abukar (right) admitted their roles in the fraud gang
Mohammed Youssfi (left) and Fahim Islam (right) were also found to have been part of the group
Pensioner Elizabeth Curtis, 71, from Helston in Cornwall, lost £130,000 and Michael Garratt, 70, from Weymouth in Dorset, was conned out of £113,000. Meanwhile an unnamed 94-year-old man from west London had £130,000 stolen.
Last night Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism division described the scam as ‘one of the biggest courier fraud investigations carried out by British police’.
Commander Richard Walton said: ‘We uncovered this fraud after a separate terrorist investigation found suspicious payments into a bank account of an individual who is now believed to have travelled to Syria.
‘This callous group of criminals stole vast sums of money from extremely vulnerable and elderly people from across the country.
‘Their despicable actions have had a terrible and devastating impact on their victims with some losing their life savings.
‘The targeting of vulnerable men and women in their 80s and 90s is quite simply beyond belief.’
Commander Walton said the fraud was on a ‘huge national scale’ and involved 5,695 calls to 3,774 different phone numbers across the UK.
At least three of the conmen had attended London universities and some had experience in call centres which made them sound plausible on the telephone.
They often played background noises simulating bank call centres to make their calls appear genuine.
The Labour leader was visiting flood-hit homes in Cumbria when the case he intervened in came before court
At an earlier hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor Edward Aydin described it as financial terrorism ‘on an industrial scale’
He said the ‘sophisticated criminal network’ was ‘a threat to the national security of this country’.
Mr Aydin said: ‘Terrorism overall takes a new form in 2015 - it’s not on the battlefield. These people before you, they are the bank of terror. They are not small fry, they are deadly and dangerous.’
Dahir, Shakaria Aden, 21, Yasser Abukar, 23, and Mohammed Abokar, 28, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud between May last year and May 2015. Ibrahim Farah, 23, was cleared of the same charge.
Mohammed Abokar was also convicted of converting criminal property.
Fahim Islam, 20, Achmed Abdulaziz Ahmed, 23, and Makzhumi Abukar, 23, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud.
Anrul Islam, 24, and Mohammed Youssfi, 37, pleaded guilty to money laundering.
All nine will be sentenced next year.
Last night a Labour spokesman said Mr Corbyn had been approached by the constituent prior to the trial, and wrote a letter on his behalf as is standard for a constituency MP.
This was before the full facts of the case had emerged, and was on the basis that Mr Corbyn was informed the constituent needed to be at home with his children and would not abscond and could not travel abroad.
The spokesman said: 'Jeremy Corbyn condemns the actions of his constituent as appalling acts against vulnerable people and wholly unacceptable.'