Three men have been sentenced after carrying out a complex scam involving elderly and vulnerable victims, including in the North East.
Amadeep Sokhal, Kulwinder Singh and Mehakdeep Thind stole £120,000 from victims by making phone calls to them posing as police officers and bank staff, convincing them their bank accounts had been scammed.
The criminals pretended to help investigate the fake scam by asking victims to supply vital evidence in the form of cash, valuables and bank details.
Police discovered the scam - known as courier fraud - in September 2020.
Expert fraud officers from the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU) launched an investigation and traced the scam back to Sokhal, Singh and Thind.
The trio appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday 3 March for sentencing.
Thind, of no fixed abode in the London area, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, concealing and disguising or removing criminal property, and possessing a fake identification. He was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison.
Singh, of Old Cote Drive, Hounslow, Middlesex, was convicted of concealing and disguising or removing criminal property and received an eight month sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to complete 240 hours of community service.
Sokhal, of Allenby Road, Southall, London, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering and sentenced to four years and six months.
NEROCU Detective Constable Andy Smith, officer in the case, said: "This is a callous crime type in which ruthless criminals target the most vulnerable members of our communities. I wish to commend the bravery of the victims, who supported this case and ensured that justice prevailed.
"As always we urge anyone who is concerned that they have been a victim of crime to get in touch and always speak to someone you trust before giving anyone money or your personal information.
"Police officers or your bank will never ask you to hand over money, transfer funds, or send cash and valuables via post. If you receive a call like this, do not interact - hang up and report it immediately."
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