Australian Gambler Heads to Jail for Scamming Acquaintance Out of $2M

Posted on: June 13, 2022, 05:16h. 

Last updated on: June 13, 2022, 11:22h.

A man in Perth is heading to jail for the next chapter in his life. The 42-year-old scammed a religious acquaintance out of AU$2.7 million (US$1.9 million) over two years, most of which he spent gambling.

Man who lost $2M to Acquaintance in Australia
An identified man who lost $2 million to an acquaintance leaves court last week. His acquaintance used the money to gamble and is going to prison. (Image: The Geraldton Guardian)

Munir Muzafar Fakrud Hassanali repeatedly stole from his 66-year-old victim. According to the Australian media outlet ABC News, he was never really able to turn a profit.

Hassanali and his victim belonged to an Islamic religious community in Perth. The community has a tradition of members lending money to each other without charging interest. However, Islam has strong feelings against gambling, and the activity is unacceptable in accordance with the Quran.

Recently, a Western Australia District Court jury found Hassanali guilty of 82 fraud-related offenses. For the jury, that’s worth six years and nine months in prison.

Blasphemous Spending

The problems began when the victim agreed to guarantee a loan of AU$30,000 (US$21,348). After that, Hassanali continued to target the man, eventually wiping out all his savings.

The friend lent Hassanali amounts ranging from AU$1,000 (US$712) to AU$200,000 (US$142,323). During the two-year period, Hassanali only repaid AU$41,000 ($29,000).

After an investigation by Perth’s Financial Crimes Squad, police arrested him in December 2019.

He claimed he needed cash to finance business ventures. Unfortunately, that venture never existed. Hassanali used elaborate stories to justify his need for the funds to convince his friend of its legitimacy. He also provided documents to support his story.

Gambling Gone Wrong

Hassanali immediately admitted that he had lost the funds gambling when cops picked him up. He added that he had no way of repaying his victim. The authorities then investigated whether Hassanali had borrowed money from other people. However, no evidence was ever found.

During Hassanali’s trial, jurors learned that he suffered from a gambling addiction and spent most of the money he collected on feeding that addiction. However, Judge Timothy Sharp believed that Hassanali did not show remorse despite receiving numerous character references.

The judge decided that Hassanali had “demonstrated a calculated pattern of deceit, which only stopped when the police intervened.” As such, and with the jury’s verdict, he sentenced him to at least four years and nine months behind bars. After that, Hassanali can request parole.

Fleecing Apple

In another recent gambling ploy, a UK man will serve 10 months in prison for scamming Apple out of three iPhones in Ireland.

Pat Sheedy, 53, convinced Apple he needed the phones for a Virgin Media TV demonstration. Since he is a published author with local awards on his resume, Apple agreed. The company shipped him an iPhone 11 and two iPhone SE, valued at around €2,900 (US$3,040), on the condition he returned them when he finished.

Sheedy used false documents to fool Apple into believing he worked for Virgin. But the ruse ultimately failed. After he didn’t return the phones, police tracked him down and sent him before a judge.

His attorney asserted that Sheedy, with a rap sheet including 94 convictions, had a “severe gambling addiction,” although he added that he was receiving medical attention for it. The judge determined that Sheedy is a “danger to society” when he isn’t in jail. However, the nature of the crime limited the sentence he could impose.