Search

Jailed: Conman who defrauded businesses of £2m

PUBLISHED: 16:33 13 July 2018

Alexander Wood and Muhammed Azhar. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Alexander Wood and Muhammed Azhar. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Archant

A Camden conman who posed as a bank official to swindle three family-run businesses out of almost £2m was jailed for seven years on Thursday.

Alexander Wood, 36, of Royal College Street was jailed alongside Muhammed Azhar, 40 of Sewall Highway, Coventry.

Wood pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fraud and one of money laundering.

Wood used fake caller ID software to convince company accountants their networks were infected with the ‘Wannacry’ virus.

He then had them make large, allegedly offline, payments into accounts set up by Azhar, which were quickly withdrawn.

Det Ins Phil McInerney of the Specialist Cyber Crime Unit said: “Wood and Azhar carried out a series of despicable offences which have understandably had a devastating impact on their victims.

“They enjoyed luxury lifestyles, staying in five-star hotels, drinking champagne and being driven around in luxury cars at the expense of their victims.”

In one recorded call, while on hold, Wood could be heard telling Azhar he would buy him a Rolex. Rolex watches were recovered alongside £10,000 in cash after the men were arrested on January 18 on Royal College Street.

The pair, who met in prison, operated their scam from a north west London house and targeted 12 UK businesses, one of which lost nearly £1.3m.

Police believe they chose their victims by searching for place names and the phrase ‘&sons’.

One victim said: “The day we had our money stolen was the day my world fell apart.

“I am totally distraught and feel totally conned and defrauded. I no longer trust anyone.”

Another said that their brother, who had provided the majority of the investment into the company, had been forced to re-mortgage his home and was hospitalised following a downward spiral of depression.

One affected business had to make 13 people redundant after the fraud.

Officer in the case Detective Constable Mary-Anne Dickson said that neither Wood or Azhar had demonstrated any remorse.

She said: “They are career fraudsters who are part of a larger network that we are currently closing in on. We will not rest until they are all brought to justice.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

07:57

“French” conmen in Hampstead targeting drivers at parking meters have struck again, stealing £3500 from a Highgate woman.

53 minutes ago

Sky Mobile has been accused of “social cleansing in an advert” after the Chalcots Estate, which was evacuated due to flammable cladding last year, was airbrushed out of a new advert for the Apple IPhone Xs.

11:17

As the City of London Corporation (CoLC) consults the public over how to put a radical 10-year “Heath Vision” plan into action, the Heath and Hampstead Society’s John Beyer has emphasised the need to make the Heath accessible to groups who don’t take advantage of it at present.

11:00

Nearly 20 people were arrested in a wave of early morning raids across north and south London, with drugs and cash seized linked to drug dealing and violence in Camden Lock Market.

08:52

These are pictures showing the final movements of a man who was found dead behind a takeaway in Golders Green on September 21.

Last week, the council had a brief debate about the most important decision this country will take in a generation, Brexit.

I’m delighted to see Alan’s Records (our Business of the Week) going strong after 24 years.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now