Perth: In a world increasingly dependent on technology, the pitfalls of falling victim to scams have become all too common. In a recent development, Uber driver Hassan Zia Rana has been sentenced to six years in prison for orchestrating an elaborate Telstra mobile phone scam, defrauding victims of $200,000 over a two-month period in 2020.
Rana, a 25-year-old former aviation student, masterminded a sophisticated scheme in collaboration with his brother in Pakistan. The elaborate plan involved a fraudulent discount offer, where victims received calls from a woman posing as a Telstra representative offering customers fake discounts. Victims were then tricked into revealing their one-time pin number sent to their phones, providing access to their Telstra accounts.
Exploiting this access, Rana ordered more than one hundred iPhones, valued at approximately $200,000. The illicit transactions came to the attention of the police in March 2020, leading to the interception of parcels in April 2020. These parcels, containing the fraudulently obtained iPhones, were delivered by an Australia Post courier driver to various addresses in Mawson Lakes, a suburb north of Adelaide.
During the sentencing at the District Court, it was revealed that Rana’s scheme resulted in the purchase of phones worth $200,000 between April and May 2020. Upon raiding Rana’s property on May 25, 2020, South Australia police confiscated $65,000 in cash., approximately $83,000 worth of phones remain unrecovered.
The District Court, during sentencing, heard Judge Heath Barklay denounce Rana’s explanations as ‘nonsense and lies,’. Judge Heath Barklay, described Rana’s actions as motivated by “pure greed” and dismissed the defendant’s multiple false explanations. Rana, who initially denied involvement, ultimately admitted to participating in the scam for six years.
Rana was charged with 20 counts of money laundering and the six year sentence includes a non-parole period of three years and six months, after which he faces the possibility of deportation back to Pakistan.
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