THE mastermind behind Britain's biggest ever cyber scam splurged £3m on Harrods shopping sprees, parties with popstars and luxury holidays to Dubai, a court heard.
Feezan Hameed Choudhary, 28, was jailed for 11 years in 2016 for leading a "vishing" fraud which conned 750 RBS and Lloyds customers out of £113m.
"Vishing" or "voice phishing" is a type of phone fraud in which the scammer manipulates the victim into sharing private financial information which can then be used to make cash transfers.
The silver-tongued crook was dubbed "The Voice" by police because he put on Scottish, Welsh and posh English accents while posing as officials from the banks' fraud departments on the phone.
Nicknamed "Fizzy", the Glasgow-based fraudster raked in more than £3m a month and splashed out on luxury motors including a Bentley and a Lamborghini.
He was so obsessive about his motors he flew car polishers 8,000 miles from Scotland to Pakistan to polish his fleet of Porsche Cayennes outside his luxury villa in Lahore.
BROUGHT TO JUSTICE
Fizzy was jailed for 11 years in September 2016 after he admitted conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder money.
He returned to Southwark Crown Court for a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Edward Franklin, prosecuting, said after taking into account expenditure during the course of the fraud Fizzy's benefit was £19m.
Franklin said: "Of that £19m we conclude that £14.8m is recoverable."
He told the court that it was up to Fizzy to prove that he did not have the money.
Franklin continued: "The defendant liked to conceal that he owned any property by getting other people to purchase it."
He also told the court that, according to one of the other fraudsters, Muhammad Azhar, the mastermind received up to £1.5m a month during he scam.
He said: "If Azhar is right the defendant could have received around £17m in the period of the indictment alone.
"An average of £500,000 – £1,500,000 for 34 months between January 2013 and October 2015."
He said that Azhar's evidence was that Fizzy paid a fortune into bank accounts in Lahore, Pakistan and owned a villa with live-in chefs and valets.
He said: "It had a jacuzzi with a basement spa.
"He said his family lived in it, that they employed servants and chefs."
HARRODS SPENDING SPREES
Azhar estimated that Fizzy spent "around £3m" in spending sprees in Harrods alone, using other people to buy Rolexes and other luxury goods on his behalf.
Mr Franklin said that Fizzy not only produced a music video for Pakistani popstar Bilal Saeed but also had him play at his engagement party.
Fizzy and several accomplices were eventually caught after ripping off 750 victims in the biggest cyber-fraud the Metropolitan Police has ever seen.
Stolen funds were moved to a bank account "at the touch of a button" and then distributed across a number of other accounts before the cash was withdrawn by "money mules".
Legitimate bank phone numbers were used to confuse victims, thanks to someone on the inside.
Pitman Blackstock Solicitors were fleeced out of £2,260,625.89 after getting a call from "Peter" claiming he was calling from the security department Lloyds Bank.
In another instance three quarters of a million pounds was transferred in seconds.
Fizzy used aliases including "Simon Hughes or Matthew Fraser" and would tell unwitting customers they had been hacked by "someone in Aberdeen called Stevenson or King".
He was the "leader and prime mover" and made almost all the calls, making sure that they appeared to be coming from a location that didn't arise suspicion.
The gang would only transfer up to £100,000 at a time as banks would instantly question anything above that.
Victims have spoken of how they were "taken in very easily" by Fizzy and were left feeling "devastated" and "traumatised".
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The scam was smashed in a series of police raids in Glasgow and the West Midlands last year.
Fizzy went as far as making calls to victims from Pakistan while on holiday during the summer of 2015.
The confiscation hearing continues.
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