A GRAYS man convicted of fraud in January 2019 is finally behind bars after fleeing abroad to evade justice and live in the lap of luxury.
Sami Raja, along with four others, miss-sold carbon credits to 130 unsuspecting victims through two companies, Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd, between January 2012 and August 2013, making fraudulent profits of a whopping £2.4million.
The 33-year-old cruelly targeted elderly individuals with the intention of defrauding them of their life savings.
Raja was first arrested back in September 2013 and released under investigation. Due to the complexity of the case, it took another five years for the case to get to court.
He entered a plea of not guilty in February 2017 and then absconded to Dubai in December 2017, a fortnight before his trial was due to start.
Whilst in Dubai, Raja attempted to further evade justice by appealing his conviction.
The fraudster also continually flaunted a luxurious lifestyle on his social media, posting pictures at expensive resorts in the Maldives and posing with designer gear including a £4,000 Rolex and a £33,000 Aston Martin car.
Mr Raja, who was subsequently convicted by a jury in his absence, was sentenced to eight years in prison at Southwark Crown Court on January 18 last year.
He was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
The City of London Police and the Crown Prosecution Service were able to secure a European Arrest Warrant in March 2019 and Raja was arrested when he travelled to Athens on 15 July 2020.
He was brought back to the UK on Wednesday.
Raja took to Southwark Crown Court again yesterday (August 27), where he was sent to prison to begin his eight year sentence.
Senior Investigating Officer Hayley Wade, of the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, said: “Raja cruelly targeted elderly individuals with the intention of defrauding them of their life savings. At the time of his crimes he clearly felt no remorse for his actions and this attitude has only become more apparent over the last 18 months.
“He is a callous and greedy individual, but today we have shown he is not above the law. We hope the fact he is now finally serving the prison sentence he deserves for his crimes, will bring some comfort to the victims in this case.
“I would like to thank the National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service, Metropolitan Police and the authorities in Greece, for all of their assistance in bringing Raja back to the UK to face justice.”