Phone scammers who admitted conspiring to commit fraud have been jailed for their part in a cruel con on the elderly and vulnerable.
The six men, who pleaded guilty to the charge on September 6, were sentenced yesterday at Cambridge Crown Court.
They had been arrested after warrants were carried out across north London by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit in April as part of an operation to tackle phone scams – many of which had preyed on Herts residents.
Officers from the county constabulary joined colleagues in nearby Beds, Cambs, the Metropolitan Police service and other forces in the region for the operation.
The scams involve victims being telephoned by the men, who claimed their bank accounts had been compromised.
The men then persuaded the victims to part with their PINs and send them their bank cards, which were collected by couriers and then used by the men to withdraw money.
Ibrahem Charary, 18, and Gael Masidi, 19, and Abdullah Hajji, also 19, all from north London, received a 12 month sentence.
Marlon Thompson, aged 18 and from Islington, received a nine month sentence along with Langangi Amani, 19, from north London.
Rakeem Worthington, also 18 and from Islington, was jailed for three months on top of another sentence he is currently serving.
Detective Inspector Danny Lawrence, who leads the ERSOU Cyber Crime Unit, said: “These men preyed on the elderly and vulnerable and took advantage of people’s trusting nature.
“They left the victims and their families in a great deal of distress by committing these frauds and this has been reflected in today’s sentencing.
“I hope this sends out a clear message to anyone thinking about becoming involved in organised crime and, particularly in this case, phone scams. We will identify you and we will bring you to court.
“These arrests were made following effective partnership and collaboration through ERSOU where a number of police forces are working together. This should reinforce the message that the eastern region is a hostile place for organised crime and we will continue to identify, disrupt and dismantle any organised crime groups.”
The Judge commented that this was sophisticated and well organised group, that each man played a part and that they were indiscriminate in the selection of their victims.
The Judge also said that this type of fraud is not risk free and that it will not be tolerated.
Scams of this nature continue to be a problem in the Herts area, with 39 of the county’s elderly and vulnerable population targeted in just two weeks last month.