THE boss of a company responsible for a nationwide home computer telephone scam has been given a four-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay nearly £25,000.
A York-based elite trading standards squad brought businessman Mohammed Khalid Jamil to justice after he had ignored warnings from two other UK consumer watchdog organisations.
Rebecca Brown, prosecuting, said Jamil’s SmartSupportGuys used an Indian centre to cold call customers.
The callers falsely claimed the victims’ computers had problems, persuaded them to hand over remote control of their devices and charged them between £35 and £140 for “repairs” that were either useless or created problems for the victims’ computers. Jamil assured both Luton trading standards officers and the London-based Action Fraud squad in 2010 and 2011 that he had rectified matters, but the scam continued, with the latest complaints made in February, after he had been charged and put before the British courts.
Colin Rumford of the national trading standards e-crime team said: “ The evidence shows that nothing he said he did to improve the situation prevented people being scammed.
Mr Jamil’s barrister said that failing to trade fairly through inappropriate cold telephone calls was not a serious matter and not on a par with other types cold calling con men who swindled their victims ‘face to face’. Jamil, 34, whose UK address is Luton, pleaded guilty to unfair trading. Recorder James Baird said he wasn’t imposing requirements on the four-month sentence so he can return to Dubai and continue running a business.
He ordered him to pay a £5,000 fine, £13,929 prosecution costs and £5,665.74 compensation. For Jamil, Nadim Bashir said the company, which was legitimate and offered a 24/7 telephone support service to 20,000 ongoing customers, made £240,000 profit last year. Jamil had outsourced sales to an Indian call centre and he didn’t keep a close enough eye on it.