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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Two given jail terms over Dh1m cooking oil scam

Pair bought huge haul of food product with bad cheque

A pair of fraudsters who bought more than Dh1 million of cooking oil with a bad cheque have been locked up for a total of four years.

The partners in crime cooked up a scheme to buy massive amounts of the product with a cheque they knew would bounce before making a quick sell on the goods, Dubai Court of Misdemeanours was told.

The Indian pair had made an upfront payment of Dh125,000 to an import and export company owner and issued him with a Dh924,000 for the remaining balance.

The unsuspecting victim had shipped in the oil from the Ukraine and met with one of the defendants, who was posing as the owner of a trading company, in a bid to strike a deal.

“He gave me a passport copy, paid Dh125,000 in cash and the remaining Dh924,000 in a cheque dated January 28, 2018, then we signed a contract,” said the victim.

The two headed to Jebil Ali port, where the victim paid Dh66,000 in storage fees then handed the shipment to the 41-year-old defendant.

“A few months later I was informed by business friends that an oil shipment is being sold for cheap prices less than its market value,” he said.

He said that he only became aware of the scam when the cheque bounced. He started calling the defendant but the phone was turned off.

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“I headed to his company where we met the first time, and there were employees and business activity going on, but I found it was shut down,” said the victim, who reported the incident to police on July 24 of last year.

The victim, whose age and nationality were not disclosed in court records, was informed that the man he had met was impersonating the other defendant - upon agreement between the two - and used his passport, company headquarters and company documents to carry out the scam.

Police were able to apprehend the 41-year-old defendant while the other remains at large.

During police questioning, the man said he was acting upon directions from his accomplice.

In court, he denied issuing a bounced cheque charge and fraudulently obtaining Dh1.04 million worth of cooking oil but was convicted of the offences.

The court sentenced him to a year in prison to be followed by deportation.

His accomplice was handed a three-year jail term in his absence, to be followed by deportation.

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