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Two Harlow men to be sentenced for conning the elderly out of £250K

Crime / Fri 15th Sep 2017 at 03:50pm

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TWO brothers conned elderly victims out of around £250,000 and used the cash to fund their own lifestyles.

Amin and Anis Ben-Sghaier claimed to work for a company called AJ Auctioneers and cold called their victims, offering to sell their investments. These included rare earth metals, diamonds and wine.

The pair, who used aliases, persuaded them to pay fees and taxes associated with these sales. But the auctions never took place and the ten victims were never paid the money they were owed from the sales.

One victim was promised £163,000 from the sale of rare earth metals. He never received the money but lost his life savings of £190,000 to the fraudsters. Another man also lost his life savings and his home.

Essex Police began investigating in May 2015 following a referral from the National Crime Agency.

In most cases, the fraud was carried out over the phone or email and the victims never met the alleged representatives of the auction company.
Police enquiries found the money paid by the victims went into accounts connected to Amin and Anis, their younger brother Bilal, Anis’ former girlfriend Rebecca Batchelor, and Amin’s former girlfriend Beau Bown.

The money was used to fund their lifestyles, including holidays, eating out, clubbing, cosmetic procedures and clothing.

All five were charged in December 2016.

Anis, 25, a trader, of Chelsea Way, Brentwood, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud between January 2013 and September 2016 when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court in February.

Amin, 27, of Collins Meadow, Harlow, admitted the same charge on September 11.

Beau Bown, 27, of Kitson Way, Harlow, admitted money laundering between September 2013 and September 2016 when she appeared at court on September 11.

Bilal Ben-Sghaier, 22, a cleaner, of Collins Meadow, Harlow, was charged with money laundering between February 2013 and September 2016.

Rebecca Batchelor, 21, a model, of Helena Road, Rayleigh, was charged with money laundering between April 2015 and September 2016.

Bilal and Batchelor stood trial at Chelmsford Crown Court on September 11.

Batchelor changed her plea to guilty on September 13. Bilal was found guilty today, Friday September 15.

All will be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court in late October.

Speaking after the jury returned its verdict today, Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This was a ruthless fraud, in which the defendants had absolutely no regard for the devastating impact they would have on their victims.

“Ten people lost large sums of their hard earned money – in some cases their life savings and home – causing huge distress. One of the victims sadly died in January this year before seeing justice done.

“They trusted the men they had dealings with, who we now know were Amin and Anis Ben-Sghaier, who were convincing and persuasive.

“The five defendants benefited from this organised scam and spent money that was not theirs.

“It is possible that other people who have not yet come forward have fallen victim to this fraud.

“We’d urge anyone who believes they have been a victim to please contact Essex Police.”

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