British trio scam 13 companies, steal millions from them - GulfToday

British trio scam 13 companies, steal millions from them


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Sohaila Ahmed, Staff Reporter

A British trio allegedly claimed their two companies have signed contracts worth billions with Expo, then used that to scam 13 suppliers into selling them products worth millions of dirhams.

Dubai Misdemeanours Court was told the men aged, 32, 35 and 58, have placed advertisments in an English daily looking to buy different types of products. Prosecutors said that the three men opened offices and a warehouse, and hired staff to carry out their criminal plot.

According to official records, owners and representatives of 13 companies contacted the defendants based on the advertisements and sold them different products worth more than eight million dirhams.

The trio were charged with fraudulently obtaining millions in cash and products, which two of the defendants have denied in court while the third failed to show up.

One of the defendants, aged 35, was charged alone with issuing dud cheques worth Dhs6.4m to the victims, which he denied.

“My client neither signed the cheques nor did he hand them to victims, which is proved in the documented testimonies of some victims,” said Emirati lawyer Awatif Mohammad Khouri  from Al Rowaad Advocates representing one of the defendants.

She pointed out that they have requested the court to summon the victims for cross examining.

“We also have witnesses to prove our client is not part of the scam,” Awatif added.

Duped companies started reporting incidents to police in October last year after the cheques they were handed in return for their products, bounced, and after hearing that the 32-year-old defendant had fled the country.

The British manager of a fencing services company said he contacted two of the defendants after seeing their ads seeking to purchase goods for Expo including fencing materials. He noted that he had met with the two defendants, who were also father and son, at their offices in Dubai Investment Park.

After the three of them reached an agreement, the victim testified providing them with fencing materials worth Dhs536,000, and was given cheques that later bounced.

A general trading company’s owner said he supplied the defendants with carpets worth Dhs4 million.

“When the cheques they gave me bounced I visited their offices again but they were empty,” said the Turkish owner.

The representative of a ceramic company said his employer supplied the defendants with white ceramic valued at Dh1.4m and were paid by dud cheques. Judges were told that a chemicals supplying company had fallen victim to their scam and provided them with ceramic bonding adhesives worth more than Dhs400,000.

“I read the adverts in a Dubai-based newspaper and contacted the phone numbers then met with one defendant at the offices of one of his companies,” said the Indian manager of a general trading company.

“We supplied him with Dhs819,000 worth of plastic material and received dud cheques,” he added.

He noted that the cheques were issued, signed and handed by the 32-year-old defendant.

All victims said they visited the offices of the defendants’ two companies where they saw an active business and employees but after the cheques bounced they found the offices empty.

The hearing has been adjourned until April 20.

Earlier, in an unrelated development, Sharjah Police General Directorate launched an awareness campaign against online scams.

The month-long initiative targets members of the public including students of different age groups.

The launch took place in the presence of officials from Sharjah Police’s Media and Public Relations Department, the Criminal Investigation Department, Community Police Department, Comprehensive Police Stations, and External Areas Police Directorate.

Campaign activities aim to help public become aware of the conning methods used by scammers including how they use fake text messages, steal bank account details, credit card numbers, and blackmail online.

Police are sending awareness messages to the public and participating in awareness-exhibitions organised by universities, institutions, and schools.

Pamphlets are being distributed in three languages (Arabic, English, and Urdu), illustrating the dangers of online fraud.

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