Members of the scheme to warn UK retailers about credit card fraud have been commended by the Metropolitan Police for their part in assisting the arrest and conviction of a serious Internet fraudster.
Information from Early Warning members allowed police to link the fraudulent order of around £18,000 worth of goods 'bought' over the Internet to addresses in East Ham, London, and an address in Walsall in the West Midlands.
An address was searched in August 2002 and two people, Mohammed Aslam and his sister Nasreen Akhtar, were arrested.
Due to the amount of property recovered (necessitating the use of a 7.5 tonne lorry to take it all away, we're told) a lengthy investigation then ensued.
On April 2 2003, Mohammed Aslam of Katherine Road, East Ham, was charged with 29 offences. He appeared at Stratford Magistrates Court on April 29 2003 and pleaded guilty to 24 of these offences. He also agreed to have 14 of 27 separate offences taken into consideration in his sentencing.
Aslam was bailed to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court for sentencing on May 30, when he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
Nasreen Akhtar, Aslam's sister, was not prosecuted for her alleged involvement in the fraud due to lack of evidence.
However she was charged with two offences of false accounting concerning housing benefit fraud.
She pleaded guilty to the these offences at Stratford Magistrates Court on May 7 and was sentenced to an 18 month community rehabilitation order.
Without information from Early Warning the pattern of the frauds might not have emerged and the crimes might have been perceived as isolated incidents.
"Our service is not just used to provide warnings but is an awesome tool for police and law enforcement agencies to use to collate information in investigating crime. This is something that we are actively encouraging," Andrew Goodwill, of Early Warning, told us. ®
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