25/06/2022

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An ‘educated and intelligent’ woman who liked the London lifestyle money laundered £28,000, which was swindled out of a company in a spear phishing scam. Karrman Paurache ‘layered’ the funds by moving them back and forth between her different accounts as well as transferring them to other people to hide where it had come from.

The 31-year-old from Dudley denied any wrong-doing and blamed someone else who supposedly had access to her bank. But mobile phone analysis placed her in parts of the capital where the money was being spent at restaurants at the time.

Following a trial she was convicted of two counts of money laundering. At Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, May 18 she was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years, partly because she had never previously committed a crime.

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Judge Heidi Kubik QC said: “The evidence showed she was in London when the money was being spent on hotel trips. She enjoyed that lifestyle with stolen money.”

Paurache, of Turton Road, was not part of the initial fraud in January 2019 as scammers placed themselves in an email chain and purported to be from a fostering charity as they demanded the victim company pay an invoice. The firm’s head of sales did not notice subtle changes being made to the messages and the business ended up paying £28,375.20 into a bank account, which belonged to Paurache.

The ruse was discovered a month later when employees from the real charity contacted the company. The money was moved out of Paurache’s Barclays account via multiple transactions, prompting the bank to freeze the account because they – rightly – suspected fraud.

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Karrman Paurache leaving Birmingham Crown Court
Karrman Paurache leaving Birmingham Crown Court

Paurache claimed she gave a man access to her account and that he proceeded to change the passwords so she no longer had control or access over it, the court heard. However the individual was interviewed by police and no further action was taken.

More than £24,000 of the total sum had been transferred out of Paurache’s account. Prosecutor Andrew Davidson said: “There must have been some financial imperative for her. There is no evidence of control or coercion. But there is no evidence of her being in a leading role.”

Syed Ahmed argued Paurache presented a low risk of re-offending and low risk of serious harm to the public. He added: “She had a limited understanding of the wider criminal context. Her account was rejected.

“What I’m saying is her role within this is quite clearly one where she is playing a role in the middle to some extent. She’s the only one to be prosecuted in all of this. There were clearly others involved in ensuring the fraud was effective.”

Paurache must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and up to 30 days rehabilitation activity, although Judge Kubik questioned whether the latter was necessary given she is an ‘educated woman’.

She said: “You are an intelligent woman. I reject your account given in evidence and so did the jury. I’m satisfied so I am sure you were aware and that you knew what was going on and you benefitted directly from any involvement in this sophisticated fraud scheme.”

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Judge Kubik added: “I accept you were not responsible for the initial fraud but your role was essential in order to allow that money to be spent. I heard evidence at trial as to where some of the money was spent including payments to your personal bills, payments at restaurants and bars at times when the phone evidence indicated you were close to the relevant areas at the time. So you did directly benefit from at least some of this money and enjoyed spending it.”

She cited her previous ‘good character’, the length of time the case took to come to court and her low risk of reoffending when ruling to spare her immediate prison. Paurache must pay £2,800 in court costs.

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