AWARD FOR DETECTIVE WHO TRACED £650,000 BOGUS 'HEALER'
A police officer who brought a bogus faith healer to justice after he tricked his victims into handing over at least £650,000 has been honoured by her chief constable.
Detective Constable Joanna Brown led the inquiry which resulted in the con artist, Mohammed Ashrafi, being traced and jailed earlier this year.
Ashrafi, formerly of Babingley Avenue, Leicester, tricked people into believing he was a holy man who could help them win the lottery – as long as they gave him tens of thousands of pounds. Using the name "Kamal-Ji", he used sleight of hand and magic tricks to establish his credentials as a healer.
The 50-year-old Indian national was jailed for nine years in March this year after he was convicted of 15 counts of fraud and one of blackmail.
Det Con Brown received a commendation for her work on the case. The commendation was handed to the officer during the annual chief constable's awards ceremony yesterday. She said: "It was a very difficult case because nobody knew this man's identity. He used false names and all the money was paid to him in cash. He abuse people's trust.There was a lot of sensitivity and people were embarrassed to talk initially because he had taken such large sums of money from them."
A member of the public led police to Ashrafi after he had left Leicester and was apparently in the process of setting up business in London. Det Con Brown said: "This person happened to see an advert in London which was almost identical to one they'd seen in Leicester, albeit with a different name. They got us an address and we were able to arrest him and put him before a court which imposed the prison sentence.It was hugely satisfying and I hope this case spreads the message about criminals who operate in this way."
Details from Leicester Mercury