A CONMAN has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for cheating Portsmouth’s Bangladeshi community out of £680,000.
Golam Chowdhury was a prominent member of the city’s Bangladeshi community but he ripped off nine people who each invested thousands in his made-up schemes.
Stephen Parish, prosecuting, said Chowdhury was a thoroughly dishonest man who had told a pack of lies.
‘This apparently charming man is guilty of fraud on an industrial scale.
He added: ‘He’s one of the most devious and dishonest individuals to occupy this court and he is not a simple man.’
Chowdhury offered various ways of investing money, such as non-existent business ventures.
But his investors lost most of their cash after he sent it to his contacts, including his father Mustafa Chowdhury, in Bangladesh.
After a six-week trial at Winchester Crown Court, the jury, who were down to five men and five women after two dropped out because of illness, found him guilty of nine counts of fraud.
They were unable to reach a verdict on a 10th charge.
The 27-year-old, of Penhale Road, Fratton, Portsmouth, will be back in court in October when the prosecution will seek to claw back some of the cash.
Sentencing him Judge John Dixon described Chowdhury as an intelligent young man who had abused the trust of the Bangladeshi community.
Chowdhury even conned some of his own relatives between 2008 and 2010.
When confronted by one woman, Shajna Begum who invested £25,000, Chowdhury told her he had been kidnapped by the Mafia who had stolen all the money.
When he was arrested in June last year he told police he never promised to invest money for anyone and that the sums he received were loans.
James Kellam, crown advocate for Wessex Crown Prosecution Service said: ‘Chowdhury has abused the trust of the Bangladeshi community.
‘As a result of his scam, some of the victims were faced with debts that they could not repay just because they had placed innocently their trust and respect in him.’
Detective Sergeant Gary Cable said: ‘It’s been a long investigation over 18 months.
‘All his victims have come forward and taken a stand and we’re convinced there are many other victims who were too afraid or did not have the confidence to come forward.
‘We have worked together with the Bangladeshi community on this case.’