Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth Bangladeshi conman Golam Chowdhury jailed for fraud

Golam Rashed Chowdhury
Image caption Golam Rashed Chowdhury claimed money was loaned to him rather than invested

A man has been jailed for defrauding hundreds of thousands of pounds from Portsmouth's Bangladeshi community.

Golam Rashed Chowdhury, 27, from Portsmouth, was well known in the close-knit community but scammed them out of £750,000, the court heard.

He offered attractive returns on business deals, but in reality the ventures did not exist.

He was found guilty of nine counts of fraud at Winchester and jailed for three-and-a-half years.

A further charge of fraud against Chowdhury, of Penhale Road, was ordered to lie on file

The court had heard how Chowdhury posed as a legitimate businessman offering attractive returns on investments, cheap air tickets and preferential rates to transfer money to Bangladesh.

Bangladeshis in the city handed over thousands of pounds, jurors at Winchester Crown Court heard.

'Lost families'

In court he claimed the money was only loaned to him and in one case said he had to give one of his victim's money to the Mafia after being kidnapped.

Image caption Community leader Mr Muhammed Badruz Zaman said many families have been affected

Community leader Muhammed Badruz Zaman said Chowdhury's crimes had affected many Bangladeshis in Portsmouth.

He said some people had invested money without the knowledge of their wives or husbands.

"Some of them have lost their families because the wife said, 'why did you do that business?'," he added.

"Some of them [are] mentally injured.

"I doubt the money is ever going to be seen by them again, but I think they will be happy that justice has been done."

Chowdhury's wife was initially charged along with her husband but the case against her was later dropped.

Det Sgt Gary Cable, of Hampshire police, said: "This was a long and thorough investigation with enquiries in this country and abroad.

"We are really pleased that the Bangladeshi community had the confidence in us to come forward and report the matter, working with us at every stage of the investigation."

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