Acton Brothers Jailed for Credit Card Scam

Intelligence operation led to arrests last year

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Three brothers from Ealing Acton have been sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison after stealing more than £600,000 in a credit and debit card scam.

The Charmaga brothers had bought designer clothing and expensive aftershave; withdrawn large amounts of cash from ATM's in this country and abroad; and used the false cards in 24-hour self-service petrol stations.

Southwark Crown Court heard that in November last year - following an intelligence operation - police searched a room in an office space in Brent.

They seized a number of items associated with card cloning including; a laptop computer, a card reader writer, card skimmers, false ATM fronts and keypads used to steal personal identification numbers and card details, an embossing press to make the cards and about 600 counterfeit credit cards and white plastic cards with magnetic strips ready to be used.

Mahmoud Charmaga was arrested for conspiracy to defraud and after searching his home police found more items in his brother Mohammed's bedroom.

Further investigation showed that since 1 July 2008, the room in the office space in Brent was being rented by a Mr Ahmed Ali. Police discovered that it was in fact Ahmed Charmaga, the third brother, who was renting the room under an alias.

At the time, Ahmed Charmaga was serving a two year prison sentence in the Isle of White following a British Transport Police arrest for a similar offence in 2007.

Mohammed was arrested on 9 December 2008 at his home address and Ahmed was arrested in the Isle of White on 11 March 2009. All three were charged with conspiracy to defraud.

Detective Constable Keith Harrington, from the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, said: "The success of this investigation was due to the sharing of information between our partner agencies. This enabled us to gain sufficient evidence to prosecute these fraudsters and we have also disrupted their criminal enterprises."

Ahmed Charmaga, 25, of Seacole Close, Acton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud on 14 July 2009 and was sentenced to four years and six months in prison (to run consecutively to the two year sentence he is serving in the Isle of White)

Mahmoud Charmaga, 23, of Seacole Close, Acton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud on 14 July 2009 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Mohammed Charmaga, 28 of Seacole Close, Acton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud on 14 July 2009 and was sentenced to two years and 8 months in prison.

July 16, 2009