A man who defrauded a fellow worshiper out of AU$2.7m (US$1.9m) and gambled it all away has received a lengthy prison sentence. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Wiping out victim’s life savings
A man who defrauded a fellow worshiper in a Perth religious community has received a prison sentence of six years and nine months. Munir Muzafar Fakhrud Hassanali took AU$2.7m (US$1.9m) from his 66-year-old victim between June 2017 and November 2019, gambling most of the money away.
victim initially agreed to guarantee a loan worth AU$30,000
A District Court jury found the 42-year-old guilty of 82 fraud-related offenses. Both of the men were part of an Islamic religious community in Perth. There is a tradition within the community of people lending money without charging any interest to fellow members. The issues began when the victim initially agreed to guarantee a loan worth AU$30,000 (US$21,348).
Hassanali then continually targeted the man, ultimately wiping out his life savings. The fraudster claimed that he needed the cash to fund business ventures that were non-existent in reality. He used elaborate stories in order to explain why he needed the funds, in one instance, showing documents to back up his story.
Confessing straight away
The smallest sum borrowed was AU$1,000 (US$712) and the biggest was AU$200,000 (US$142,323). Hassanali only repaid AU$41,000 (US$29,000) during the entire period. Police arrested him in December 2019 following an investigation by the Financial Crimes Squad in Perth.
Hassanali confessed straight away that he had lost the funds gambling
Following his arrest, Hassanali confessed straight away that he had lost the funds gambling and had no possible way to repay the victim. At the time, the authorities conducted further investigations to see if Hassanali had also borrowed sums from other people, but no evidence of this ever came to light.
Commenting on Hassanali’s actions, state prosecutor Rebekah Sleeth described the victim as “a hardworking, trusting, kind man who lost his dignity and his life savings because of the callous greed of one very deceitful man.”
A serious gambling issue
During the court proceedings, it came to light that Hassanali had a serious gambling problem and that most of the borrowed funds either went towards funding that addiction at casinos.
a calculated pattern of deceit”
Despite receiving various character references regarding Hassanali, the judge believed that the fraudster did not show any remorse for what he did. Judge Timothy Sharp said Hassanali “demonstrated a calculated pattern of deceit, which only stopped when the police intervened.”
Hassanali will have to serve at least four years and nine months in prison before release becomes a possibility. However, he was made eligible to secure parole.