Devon

Gambler jailed for stealing £460,000 from bank account

Money Image copyright Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Image caption Victim John Craig had £460,000 stolen from his bank account

A gambler who emptied a man's bank account of almost half a million pounds and spent it within hours in casinos has been jailed for seven years.

Shah Hussain Ali, 42, set up a false bank account and transferred the money from victim, John Craig's account.

Ali, from Albury Road, Redhill, Surrey admitted two charges of fraud and two of possessing false identity documents.

Mr Craig, from Plymouth, has since had the £460,000 reimbursed, Exeter Crown Court heard.

'Nasty shock'

Ali managed to obtain details of his bank account, possibly from a corrupt HBOS employee, and set about a carefully planned operation to steal his money, the court heard.

He also carried out another scam by using people's credit card details to make £350,000 worth of transfers through an Exeter-based company.

Judge Francis Gilbert told Ali: "This was a sophisticated and complicated chain of fraudulent events.

"Mr Craig has been reimbursed by the bank but must have suffered a pretty nasty shock when he was told he only had £13,000 left in his account.

"You played a leading role in offences which required sophisticated planning and had a large number of victims."

Mark Butler, mitigating, said Ali had not been in trouble before and his offending stemmed from his gambling addiction.

He said: "He and his family ran restaurants in and around London and he also had a business as a mortgage adviser but he has a serious gambling addiction and has spent something around £500,000 in casinos.

"He has lost his family business and his savings."

Co-defendant William White, 53, of Barnfield Hill, Exeter, has already been jailed for three years and one month for allowing his company Whitehaze to be used in processing fraudulent card transactions.

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