Police forces in Slough, Berkshire and Birmingham have launched a fraud investigation on the back of a story that appeared in the Slough Express.
Reporter Terry Pattinson was contacted by a number of anxious Asian families claiming that thousands of pounds worth of donations sent through money transfer business Currency Point intended for poor and charities abroad had not reached their destination in Pakistan.
Pattinson visited the company’s Slough-based offices only to find that they had closed its doors to the public due to a robbery. A letter had been pinned to the door informing customers to send bank and building society account details to a mailbox address in City Road, London but the address turned out to be a fake. A mystery man who set up the company Farahat Malak has disappeared.
Pattinson said: “After interviewing droves of people arriving at the Currency Point offices it was clear that a major scam had taken place, particularly as the police had not been informed about a robbery at Currency Point.
“Police asked me for a detailed memo and announced a fraud probe a day or two later.”
Pattinson notified the Birmingham Post and West Midlands Police, as he was told a similar scam had taken place in Birmingham, where another Currency Point operation had suddenly closed after a ‘robbery.”
He added: “There was little trading standards officers or the Citizens Advice Bureau could do to help people who had handed over a fortune in cash.”
The money was handed over during Ramadan, when Muslims are duty bound to give to the poor.