Fraudster on run from eight year jail term over £2.4m fraud is finally behind bars after taunting police with his £4,000 Rolex and £33,000 Aston Martin on Instagram while living in Dubai
- Sami Raja, 33, from Essex, was sentenced to eight years in jail in January 2019
- Duped elderly victims into handing over their life savings by posing as a broker
- Fled country for Dubai before his trial at Southwark Crown Court was due to start
- He was finally arrested in July 2020 and was returned to the UK on August 26
A conman who duped pensioners out of their life savings in a £2.4 million fraud and was on the run from an eight year British prison sentence in Dubai is finally behind bars.
Sami Raja, 33, from Grays, Essex, was sentenced to eight years in jail in January 2019 after he duped elderly victims into handing over their life savings by posing as a broker and selling them useless ‘carbon credits’ for 25 times the market value.
A fortnight before his trial at Southwark Crown Court was due to start in 2019, Raja fled for Dubai, a court heard.
While on the run, Raja, who used some of the stolen money he and his associates had acquired to purchase a £33,000 Aston Martin and a £4,000 Rolex, then launched an appeal bid, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Sami Raja, 33, from Grays, Essex, who was sentenced to eight years in jail in January 2019 for duping elderly victims into handing over their life saving is behind bars
The conman shared an image of himself in a hot tub at a resort in the Maldives just days after he was sentenced in the UK
Speaking at a confiscation hearing in May last year prosecutor Paul Casey said: ‘We understand Mr Raja is contesting his conviction.’
Referring to another fugitive ‘speedboat’ killer Jack Shepherd, who launched an appeal while he was on the run in Georgia, Judge Christopher Hehir had remarked: ‘It seems to be in vogue these days, that one contests one’s conviction having fled overseas.’
Raja was convicted in his absence of six counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering by a jury in January last year.
Raja was convicted in his absence of six counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering in January last year. He was returned to the UK on August 26 after the City of London Police secured a European Arrest Warrant
Following his sentence, the City of London Police secured a European Arrest Warrant and Raja was finally arrested when he travelled to Athens on July 15, 2020. He was returned to the UK on August 26.
He was formally handed the eight year sentence back at Southwark Crown Court today.
The fraudster, who conned 130 victims, flaunted his millionaire lifestyle while on the run by brazenly posting pictures of himself posing with designer goods on Instagram.
He also posted pictures from expensive resorts, including the Maldives, just days after he was sentenced in January of last year.
A court heard how victims had received unsolicited calls from ‘brokers’ who used high pressure sales techniques to persuade them to invest in the scam products.
The conman ran Sami Raja Consultancy, which aims to help investors ‘set up and expand their businesses in the UAE and the UK’.
After Raja went on the run, Kevin Cresswell, 50, who invested £300,000 in Park First airport parking spaces, another scheme of Raja’s that continued whilst he was on trial, previously told the Telegraph: ‘It is unbelievable that he is not in prison, it’s ridiculous.
‘How can he just disappear after he has ripped so many people off? If it is within their power police should be doing everything they can to bring him to justice, they should be banging down doors.’
Raja used the money he had acquired through fraud to buy a £33,000 Aston Martin and a £4,000 Rolex
While he was on the run, Raja also launched an appeal bid, Southwark Crown Court heard
Sami Raja pictured with a woman at Al Marjan desert safari camp in Dubai
Senior Investigating Officer Hayley Wade, of the City of London Police’s fraud squad, said: ‘Raja cruelly targeted often elderly individuals with the intention of defrauding them of their life savings.
‘He clearly felt no remorse for their actions, closing one company, only to set-up another and commit the same offences.
‘He is a callous and greedy individual, but today we have shown he is not above the law. We hope the fact he is now finally serving the prison sentence he deserves for his crimes, will bring some comfort to the victims in this case.
‘I would like to thank the National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service, Metropolitan Police and the authorities in Greece, for all of their assistance in bringing Raja back to the UK to face justice.’
Raja was one of five men convicted over the carbon credits scam, which saw 130 victims conned between 2012-2013.