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Uber driver Hassan Zia Rana’s sophisticated Telstra mobile scam across two continents exposed after six years – as he is jailed and faces deportation: ‘Pure greed’

An Uber driver will spend six years behind bars for fraudulently obtaining $200,000 in an elaborate Telstra phone scam, which a judge said was motivated by «pure greed».

Hassan Zia Rana set up a scam targeting Telstra customers between April and May 2020, resulting in more than a hundred iPhones being ordered and delivered to addresses in Mawson Lakes, north of Adelaide.

The 25-year-old set up an elaborate scheme targeting Telstra customers with his brother in Pakistan.

The way it worked was that customers were first called by a woman who told them she worked for a telco.

She then told people the company was offering a discount before they were asked to send a PIN number to their phone.

The woman then asked the customer to read aloud the PIN number from the text message sent to them.

Hassan Zia Rana (pictured) will be jailed for masterminding an elaborate phone scam targeting Telstra customers and obtaining $200,000 worth of Apple iPhones

At the time, customers could access their Telstra online account using a one-time PIN code sent to the customer via SMS.

The pin would then be used to access the customer’s Telstra online account, allowing Rana to place orders for a brand new Apple iPhone.

The phones were then delivered to various addresses in Mawson Lakes and collected by courier drivers hired by Rana who delivered the devices to him.

During Rana’s sentencing, the district court was told that $200,000 worth of phones were ordered between April and May 2020.

The phones, valued at approximately $83,000, were not recovered.

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The court also heard evidence from an undercover police officer who was offered $25 by Rana to deliver the phone in a package, with a $1,000 bonus if he managed to deliver 150 packages.

The District Court heard the 25-year-old was part of the scheme along with his brother, who lives in Pakistan, hiring courier drivers to deliver iPhones ordered through the accounts of unsuspecting Telstra customers.

South Australian police raided Rana’s home (pictured) and found thousands of dollars in cash

Officers from the South Australian Police raided Ran’s property on 25 May 2020 and seized $65,000 in cash.

Rana, a former student who will complete his Bachelor of Aeronautics in 2021, was charged with 20 counts of money laundering after previously denying being part of the complex scheme.

«You gave various explanations, most of which were nonsense and almost all lies,» Judge Heath Barklay told Rana in court, according to the Advertiser.

“You were motivated purely by greed.

Judge Barklay found that Rana had worked with his brother to send money from the phones to Pakistan, with Rana also understanding that he would receive a significant amount of the proceeds.

«You were part of a sophisticated, organized group that actively targeted Telstra and stole a large number of mobile phones from them,» Judge Barklay said.

Rana admitted during the proceedings that he had been involved in the scheme for six years.

Rana was sentenced to six years in prison with a non-parole period of three years and six months, after which he faces deportation back to Pakistan.

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