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Men jailed for money laundering after man in his 80’s defrauded of over £70,000

  • Men jailed for part in fraud which targeted the vulnerable
  • Victim lost close to £74,000 before another transaction of £22,000 was prevented
  • £150,000 in cash seized from the suspect's house

Two men have been sentenced to jail and one man has received a suspended sentence for their part in a fraud that saw an 84 year old man lose over £70,000.

Avinash Kakumanu, 31, of Admiralty Avenue, Newham, was sentenced to three years for conspiracy to defraud, two years for money laundering and two years for possession of criminal property. The sentence's will be served concurrently. 

Dinesh Alavala, 31, also of Admiralty Avenue, Newham, was sentenced to two years six months for conspiracy to defraud, 18 months for money laundering and 18 months for possession of criminal property. The sentence's will be served concurrently. 

Ranjit Nellikondi, 37, of Sheffield Road, Rotherham received a suspended sentence of two years for money laundering.

All three men pleaded guilty to their offences and were sentenced on Friday 1 February 2019 at Southwark Crown Court.

Victim tricked into believing he was helping the authorities

Kakumanu, Alavala and Nellikondi assisted what is believed to be an organised crime group who commit fraud enabled by computer takeover. An investigation into the group’s activities was first conducted by the City of London Police’s Cyber Crime Unit in March 2018 after an 84 year old male from the Barbican estate was defrauded out of £73,750.

The elderly victim received a phone call from an unknown male presenting himself as a National Crime Agency (NCA) officer and was subsequently informed that his computer was being used for money laundering and his assistance was required in order to identify the offenders. Once he’d logged on to his computer, the fraudsters installed software which took over the device. The victim was then instructed to make a series of bank transfers at local branches to accounts he believed had been set up in his name.

After transferring nearly £74,000 to two accounts, a further transfer of £22,000 was prevented by his bank and the police were called.

Money trail

Officers from the City of London Police’s Cyber Crime Unit were able to follow the money transferred by the victim to the fraudulent accounts and trace these back to Kakumanu and Alavala. A search of the property they rented together uncovered £150,000 in cash which was seized and will now be subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The accounts were also traced back to Nellikondi. The investigation found that Nellikondi would receive large cash deposits into his own personal bank account which he then transferred via online banking to accounts in India. 

Detective Inspector Gary Robinson, from the City of London Police’s Cyber Crime Unit, said:

“The manner in which crime is committed and offenders now operate in this digital age represents a growing threat to us all, but particularly more vulnerable members of our society.

“Our officers are committed to delivering a rapid, effective and digitally competent response to all types of cyber crime and seeking justice for those affected.

“If you receive a request to provide personal or financial information, or are asked to withdraw money or transfer money to another account, take a moment to reflect on what is being asked of you and don’t be afraid to question it. Your bank, the police, or any other trusted organisation will never ask you for your PIN or full banking password.”

If you think you, or a friend or family member, has been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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