Conman may have amassed £180k with bogus cop scam

A man has been convicted of posing as a police officer and conning money from people by claiming he could sell them jailed criminals’ homes at bargain prices.

Mohammed Raja duped victims into believing he was a West Midlands Police economic crime investigator tasked with disposing of properties seized from crooks under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The 38-year-old – who also used the name Sadat Raj – had never worked as an officer but it’s suspected he got his hands on police headed paper during his time working as a security guard at the force’s Lloyd House HQ in Birmingham between 2003 and 2005.

He created bogus documents to support his scam, plus doctored emails from senior officers addressed to “Sergeant Raja”, and amassed a wardrobe of police uniform including a stab vest, utility belt, lanyard, police fleece and flat cap. One couple handed over a £5,000 deposit after Raja claimed he could offer them a four-bedroom house for just £47,000 and also tricked a petrol station attendant into thinking he worked for “Special Branch” after filling up his Mercedes one day wearing a stab vest. 

He went on to show the man and his wife around a house in Kelynmead Road, Kitts Green, having let them in with keys he claimed to have collected from Stechford police station. They also handed over a hefty deposit – but the property actually belonged to a woman married Raja was having an affair with at the time.

It’s understood he collectively conned victims out of more than £180,000 – but his scam was exposed in 2016 when a man contacted West Midlands Police to report what he believed was a corrupt officer. The man – who was facing an assault allegation – said he met Sgt Raja at a café in Alum Rock where he promised to get the charges dropped for a fee of £4,000.

He handed over the cash but later became suspicious and reported the encounter to a PCSO he bumped into on beat patrols.

Detectives traced Raja from the Mercedes he used to drive to the café meeting and executed a warrant at his home in Southern Road, Washwood Heath, on 1 September 2016 where they discovered the police uniform items, bogus paperwork and documents he’d taken from victims. A cheque for £70,000 written out to Raja – suspected to be from a potential victim – was also found at the address. 

He initially denied the offences but later admitted two counts of fraud by false representation – and at Birmingham Crown Court on 25th June he was given a nine-month jail term suspended for two years.

Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Steve Powles from West Midlands Police’s Organised Crime Unit, is keen to hear from anyone who may have been conned by Raja. He said:

“It’s hard to say exactly how many people he may have defrauded; it could be upwards of 50. His bank account showed £181,000 was deposited in various cash amounts between January 2009 and April 2016.

There’s no explanation for those deposits, the biggest being £7,000, so we believe it could be from people he’s duped. He went to great lengths to support his claim of being an officer and collected a significant number of police uniform items." 

Mr Raja has no previous convictions which is why he’s not been handed an immediate prison sentence – but his character has been permanently stained by his deception. 

Officers are keen to hear from anyone who’s had dealings with Raja, in which he’s claimed to be a police officer. Anyone who believes they may have been tricked is urged to contact DS Powles at by email or by calling 101 (ext 844 3122).


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