Accused religious fraudster ripped $2.6m off worshipper and blew it at casino, police say

Tuesday 31st December 2019

A 38-year-old man from the Perth suburb of Dianella has been charged with defrauding more than $2.5 million from a fellow worshipper he knew through a religious congregation and gambling the money away.

Financial Crimes Squad detectives arrested Munir Muzafar Fakhrud Hassanali at a casino on December 19 following an investigation into his unexplained wealth.

It would be alleged that between June 2017 and November 2019, Mr Hassanali repeatedly borrowed amounts of money from the victim under false pretences.

The loans ranged from $1,000 to $200,000 and, according to police, were given based on fraudulent paperwork for proposed business opportunities that did not exist.

Of the almost $2.6 million Mr Hassanali was accused of taking, only $41,000 had been repaid to the victim to date.

Police alleged Mr Hassanali used that money to attend a casino on a regular basis and had lost all of it through gambling.

It is understood Mr Hassanali and the victim knew each other through a religious congregation, which included members from across Perth.

A WA Police spokesperson said the victim had been left in serious financial trouble.

"The victim trusted the financial arrangements he was entering into were legitimate, and made that assessment based on material presented to him that turned out to be fraudulent," the spokesperson said.

"He and his wife have now lost their savings, which they were going to rely on in their retirement.

"Based on information obtained during the investigation, we are continuing to investigate whether other people may have been approached in similar circumstances.

"We encourage anyone who believes they may be the victim of fraudulent loan arrangements to contact police on 131444 and provide the details so we can investigate."

Mr Hassanali was charged with 88 counts of fraud.

He appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court last week where he was refused bail.

The 38-year-old is due to next appear in court in January.

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