The swindlers had hacked the email account of the law firm and sent fraudulent emails to the customer, asking for money. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: Three men were sentenced to three years in jail, to be followed by deportation, for forging documents and posing as representatives of a Dubai-based law firm and thereby swindling a customer of Dh232,340.

The Dubai Court of First Instance ordered the three-member gang to pay a fine of Dh442,340. According to records, the victim had contacted the law firm to follow up civil cases at Dubai Courts in 2018, since he was staying in Turkey. But two Nigerian men and a Cameroonian man forged the court documents and the law firm’s emails and deceived the victim who had wired the legal fees to the defendants with the impression that he was dealing with bona fide representatives of the law firm.

The Emirati lawyer said the victim used to contact them through the firm’s email, which they had hacked. The scam was uncovered in 2019 when the victim came to the UAE and met the lawyer. “They sent him documents about the status of the cases in courts and asked him to transfer Dh20,000 of advance fees to a bank account in the United Kingdom. They emailed the victim through the hacked email,” said the Emirati lawyer on record.

The defendants kept asking the victim to send varying amounts of money after dispatching forged letters from Dubai Courts to pay fees for opening civil cases upon his request. The defendants contacted the victim through Skype, asking for an extra Dh60,000 of fees when he alerted Al Muraqqabat Police Station. An Emirati policeman testified that Dubai Police then set up a trap and arrested the defendants.

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Police said that the defendants admitted to illegally obtaining the money from the victim. “They claimed that the other suspects, who were outside the country, had hacked the emails and told the victim to send the funds and that they would collect them. They would buy car spare parts with the money and send them to Nigeria,” said the Emirati policeman on record.

Dubai Public Prosecution has charged the defendants with forgery, using forged documents and illegally obtaining funds.