THREE men have been jailed for a large scale fraud which targeted 50 victims over four years.

The fraudsters persuaded their victims to hand over cash by convincing them they were in a position to sell them repossessed properties at knockdown prices.

At Minshull Street Crown Court Mohammed Ibrahim Sidat, aged 63, of High Street, Bolton, was jailed for two years and four months.

His accomplices, Mohammed Naveed Chaudhry, aged 40, from Leeds was given a five years and three month prison sentence and Shaikh Ahmed Rahim, aged 39, from Cheadle Heath was jailed for three years and eight months.

Chaudhry and Sidat pleaded guilty and Rahim was found guilty following a three week trial.

A fourth man, Ayub Patel, aged 50, from Blackburn Street, Blackburn, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work after admitting money laundering.

The court heard how the men defrauded more than 50 victims across the North of England between 2011 to 2015 .

Chaudhry often claimed to be a solicitor working for the Crown Prosecution Service, using the alias Adam Baksh.

He would also portray himself as someone in a position to sell repossessed residential properties at a reduced rate to numerous victims.

Rahim and Sidat introduced Chaudhry to victims as a successful businessman or solicitor with genuine schemes that would financially benefit them.

The trio would then convince people to hand over their money in the belief that they would become owners of a repossessed home.

The fraudsters also recruited Patel who allowed his business bank account to

receive proceeds of frauds.

Patel filtered over £126,000 of fraudulently obtained money through his business bank account.

A Proceeds of Crime Hearing will take place at a later date to recover any funds gained from their criminal enterprise.

DC Andy Devonshire, of Greater Manchester Police's fraud investigation team, said: “Chaudhry and his accomplices are incredibly dishonest men who lured in their victims with false identities and empty promises.

"They took full advantage of people who trusted them and defrauded more than £600,000.

“The fraudsters presented Chaudhry as both an employee of the Crown Prosecution Service and a reputable solicitor - their deception knew no bounds.

“I hope today’s sentences provide some closure to the victims and that they can begin to move on from the stress and upset that these individuals have caused them.

“They now have plenty of time in prison to realise that it wasn’t worth it.”