Con-artist who defrauded Muslims caught
CAIR today announced that a suspected con-artist who preyed on Muslim communities worldwide for more than a decade has been apprehended by Canadian police. In cooperation with Canadian authorities, CAIR is also calling on those who were defrauded to present evidence to local police, who will in turn offer that evidence to their Canadian counterparts.
The alleged con-artist's primary method of operation was to place phone calls claiming to be a well-known Muslim leader, official or scholar stranded at an airport after his money, passport and tickets had been stolen or lost. He would ask the intended victim, typically a leader or
activist in a local Muslim community, to wire cash through MoneyGram or Western Union to help him out of the crisis. After receiving the funds, he would disappear.
The impostor, a 37-year-old Israeli national named Mohammed Mustafa Agbareia who was arrested December 5 on fraud charges, used this technique to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Muslim individuals and institutions in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and the Islamic world.
"Victims of this scam should immediately contact their lcal law enforcement authorities, inform them of the Canadian arrest, file a police report or update the report they filed in the past, and request that the report be forwarded to Canadian officials in charge of the case. Without this evidence, the alleged con-artist may be released on bail and will again have an opportunity to flee the country and defraud more innocent people," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
"We would also like to thank Canadian authorities, particularly the Toronto-area Orangeville Police Service, for their diligence and professionalism in helping bring this man to justice," said Awad. CAIR had over the years issued several alerts to Muslims about the con-artist after
receiving many complaints from those who had been defrauded.
Those targeted by the con-artist are requested to have local officials contact the Orangeville Police Service regarding case number OV02009218. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Send CAIR copies of your police report and contact information for local authorities.)
Inspector Wayne Davis or Constable Faron Rahn
Orangeville Police Service
9 Centre Street
Orangeville, Ontario, L9W 2W9