LONDON: London police have been looking for a man for questioning for his part in defrauding a 57-year-old woman out of over £400,000 over a two-year period.
Muhammed Ashraf, 37, of no fixed abode is wanted for questioning by officers from London borough of Hounslow, the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The victim reported to officers on November 25, 2015 that she received a leaflet through her letterbox claiming to provide services to people suffering from ‘dangerous black magic’ in March 2013.
In June 2013 the victim contacted the mobile number on the leaflet and spoke to a man to enquire about using his service, the statement said.
She agreed to meet an unknown man in Southall, where she paid him £350 in return for his help. She was led to believe this was a one-off payment and was not told that the fees would increase in the future.
A week later, the same man contacted the victim and told her that her problems were too complicated and he required more money to help her, stating that he needed an extra £90,000.
The victim questioned this, but agreed to pay £60,000 cash instead, the police said.
From then until November 2015, the suspect and the victim met approximately once every two weeks, and on each occasion he demanded more money. Ashraf would attend the victim to collect the money, when the first suspect was not able to meet.
Later in the month, Ashraf told the victim that man she previously met had passed away. He then made her delete any contact number or messages from him from her phone.
The victim found this suspicious and reported it to police, the statement said.
Three weeks after reporting the matter to police, the victim saw Ashraf driving a vehicle in Southall — the last known sighting of him.
DC Ben Lawrence-Smith, from Hounslow CID, said: “Although this offence happened a number of years ago, we still appeal to the public for their help in locating Ashraf.
“Ashraf is an Asian male who at the time of his involvement in defrauding the victim had a beard and moustache. He is known to sometimes use the surname Ali, and may be residing in the Midlands,” Smith said.