2 Aug 2011

Hunt for UK’s 10 most wanted fraudsters

A national crime-fighting charity launches a campaign to hunt down the UK’s 10 most wanted fraud suspects, who are sought in connection with £200m worth of fraud.

Hunt is on for UK's ten most wanted fraudsters (Crimestoppers)

Charity Crimestoppers has released the names and images of 10 fraud suspects to try and track them down.

Fraud cost the UK £38bn in 2010, according to the National Fraud Authority – or £700 per person.

The 10 profiled in the new Most Wanted Fraudsters campaign are suspects wanted for high-value VAT fraud, fraud by false representation and bank account fraud totalling £200m.

One allegedly posed as the brother of Peter Kay and offered to put on a charity night to raise money to send a four-year-old cancer victim to America for treatment. The landlords gave him the cash to secure the booking, but he failed to perform.

This is not a victimless crime. Lord Ashcroft, Crimestoppers founder

Another is accused of taking payments for holiday bookings in Cornwall but cancelling days before the tourists were due to arrive and keeping the money.

‘Not a victimless crime’

Founder and chair of Crimestoppers, Lord Ashcroft, said: “This is not a victimless crime. Every single one of us is paying higher taxes, bank charges and insurance fees because of fraud… Think of the many cuts and savings that would not have to occur if we did not suffer this level of fraud!”

Crimestoppers is urging people who know of anyone committing a fraud, or who know the whereabouts of the 10 featured in the campaign, to call the charity anonymously on 0800 555 111 or fill in an online form.

Who are the ten most wanted?

Nasser Ahmed, 38, is wanted for his role in a £156m VAT fraud in the Bristol area. He absconded during the trial and was sentenced to six years in his absence.

Timur Mehmet, 37, was involved in a £25m VAT fraud and absconded before his trial. He was sentenced to eight years in his absence. He has links with the north London area.

Misba Uddin, 47, is wanted for fraud by false representation, after allegedly submitting false mortgage applications totalling £5.7m while working as a financial adviser. He then transferred the funds to his own accounts.

Ajayi Seun, 45, is a former solicitor who is believed to have conned mortgage lenders and banks out of more than £12m between 2004 and 2009. He has strong links to the Carshalton area but has not been seen at his former address since the end of May.

Peter Stead, 48, is accused of tricking several Derby landlords out of money by offering to put on a comedy night to raise money for the Lewis Mighty Fund, to send a four-year-old cancer patient, Lewis, to America for treatment. He was given cash by landlords to secure the booking, but never performed.

Nicholas Slocombe, 28, is wanted in connection with collecting money from dozens of shops and businesses for fake charities. He was arrested in April but did not answer his bail in May. He is believed to have two aliases – Owen Roswell and Arron Renfry.

Jascent Nakawunde, 33, also known as Tania Bird, is wanted for questioning in connection with a £35,000 fraud in Cardiff. She was employed as a live-in carer for vulnerable lady in her eighties and between 2007 and 2008, and allegedly stole cheques from the lady which were paid into false accounts in the London area.

Mohamad Khan, 29, is believed to be in London and is accused of using counterfeit credit cards to buy items from shopping centres like Bluewater and Lakeside worth £100,000. He was arrested but did not attend the Crown Court hearing.

Unknown female, is wanted for a fraud in 2008. She allegedly entered a bank branch and falsely obtained a debit card and account details in the name of a legitimate customer. She then visited three other branches and fraudulently transferred funds out of the customer’s account, transferring the money to locations across the globe. The £650,000 was then used to purchase high-value vehicles.

Kevin Andrew Leitch, 48 is wanted for fraud-type offences by Devon and Cornwall Police. He took bookings for a holiday let in Cornwall, often over £1,000. He frequently cancelled the booking days beforehand, claiming the property was no longer available, and failed to refund the money. He also goes by the name of Kevin Branson.