Tuesday, 2 December 2014

"Audacious" Female Fraudster Gets Suspended Sentence For Conning Banker Sir George Mallinckrodt

Target: Sir George's Home
A young female fraudster, who carried out an "audacious", scam on the president of Schroders merchant bank, Sir George Mallinckrodt, who handed over £74,000 worth of jewellery and lost £6,700 in cash, walked free with a suspended sentence today.

Miranda Trudy Elmakhzangy, 20, of Dunstable Road, Caddington, Luton, posed as a police officer and conned Sir George, 84 and his wife Charmaine, 79, into handing over the valuables on the doorstep of their multi-million pound Chelsea home.

Judge Anne Molyneux told her at Isleworth Crown Court: "This was a planned and carefully executed offence. Your victims were vulnerable, they were exploited. This was a mean and cruel thing to do."

She pleaded guilty that on April 7 in
Chelsea Square, Chelsea she stole jewellery, worth £74,000, and £6,700 cash belonging to the elderly couple and received a twelve month prison sentence, suspended for eighteen months.

Sir George is the president of Schroders, an independent merchant bank, which has offices in twenty-seven countries, managing £271.5 billion.

German-born Sir George has an honorary knighthood and his full name is Georg Wilhelm von Mallinckrodt.

He married Charmaine Schroder, sister of Bruno Schroder, the great-great-grandson of the bank's co-founder John Henry Schroder, in 1958, after joining the company four years earlier in New York.

The couple were convinced they needed to hand the items over to police for sake-keeping and when encouraged to call her bank the fraudsters remained on the line and took security details and PINS from Mrs Mallinckrodt.

Prosecutor Mr. Tim Starkey said: "The victim's in this case, Mr and Mrs Mallinckrodt, in the early hours of the seventh of April, having flown back to their home in Chelsea from Germany that night were contacted by somebody pretending to be a PC Harrington.

"It was Mrs Mallinckrodt that took the call and told that she and her husband had been targeted and it was high risk."

The couple were told the gang had already conned a £350,000 Rembrandt etching from other wealthy victims, but that was the: "tip of the iceberg."

They were convinced their bank cards had been compromised and needed to be cancelled and were told to phone the bank number on the back.

"She spoke to a male and went through the cards, giving the numbers and typing in the PIN's and told that they would be cancelled," added Mr. Starkey.

"PC Harrington asked about valuables in the house and she told them about jewellery and he asked if there were firearms.

"They said a police officer would arrive and the password 'Berlin' would prove this was genuine and once that was done they could collect their property from Holborn Police Station." 

The couple were told six plain-clothes police officers were patrolling their exclusive square and Elmakhzangy rang the doorbell at 2am, but had to return because the couple were not ready.

Elmakhzangy's Mercedes car was caught on CCTV circling the square while she waited and this led to her arrest later via number plate recognition.

Her DNA was also taken and matched to the doorbell even though she tried to trick police and pretended to be her sister at Dunstable Police Station. 

After collecting the valuables and cards on the doorstep Elmakhzangy was caught on three different cashpoint cameras withdrawing a total of £1,040.

What's App messages on her phone revealed her involvement in the plan since March, with conversations regarding collecting packages from homes and not getting caught.

Elmakhzangy's lawyer Mr. Tom Buxton said: "The facts of this case are quite extraordinary and it's a great shame to find a young woman of good character involved in something as serious as this."

He told the court an ex-boyfriend and cocaine addiction prompted the offence.

"It seems an audacious offence, but if it is accepted there were others behind the scenes organising this that were far more criminally responsible than her the court may see fit to deal with her in a way that doesn't involve an immediate custodial sentence."

Judge Molyneux added: "Your victims were vulnerable, your victims were deceived, high value items were taken from them and the very high sentimental value can't be quantified."

Elmakhzangy was also ordered to perform 250 hours community service work and pay £2,000 compensation.

Charges of driving a 1.8 litre silver Mercedes in Sharpenhoe Road, Streatley, Bedforshire on July 8 without insurance and obstructing a PC Cundell at Dunstable Police Station on the same day were sent back to Hammersmith Magistrates Court.

Sir George moved to London in 1960 and became director in 1977, serving as chairman from December 1984 until May 1995 and later as president.

Sir George played a leading role in the Bank of England's attempt to save Barings.

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