A woman who met a man on LinkedIn and later handed over £1500 for ‘a family immigration case’ has spoken out.

The woman named Miss Zafar said she met the man known as Ali bin Mohammad via LinkedIn in January 2020 first time. After getting to know him he promised he could help with her family’s immigration cases.

She says he even moved into the home in Manchester she shared with her brother but despite many attempts is now uncontactable.

They handed over the funds after Mr Muhammed introduced to them to a legal firm. E-mails seen by us are signed from a representative (not Ali bin Mohammad) of Ashton Fox Solicitors and promise to complete legal documents in relation their family’s immigration in January 2021.

A search on Google shows Ashton Fox Solicitors was based in Preston. But the website is no longer live. A further search identified that Ashton Fox Solicitors was formerly dissolved on 14 December 2020 but actually went into administration in 2013. The telephone number is not in use.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) confirmed that Ashton Fox Solicitors 'had been closed for eight years'.

Miss Zafar says Ali is now ignoring her calls and the legal firm is also uncontactable.

She said: “He has very appealing profile and I was looking for some career opportunities and jobs.

“In February 2020, we exchanged phone numbers and he claimed that he is the member of MENSA and having a high IQ (170) and was working with a UAE government as financial advisor.

“He told me he lives in Cheshire on Wilmslow Road.

“A few months later he told me that he has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Cancer) and he is going to USA for treatment.”

She said in December he contacted her and told her that his cancer was in the final stages and he had ‘17 tumours in his body’.

“He would go through chemotherapies in America and have to continue further treatment from UK. His private doctors suggested the Tameside hospital to him because they have most advance equipment, and it was nearest to him.

“He told to me that, he has no family here as his parents have died, and he only had one brother who lived in USA.

“So, he desperately needed a place to stay during his treatment and wanted to have someone around him as he could be extremely bad during his treatment and wanted some moral support. He said he cannot stay in the hospital for a month because of Covid.

Miss Zafar said she felt sorry for him, and on the 16 December 2020 allowed him to come and live with herself and her brother.

“He also said he just needs to stay here only 2 or 3 days a week after his treatment sessions on Fridays.”

Miss Zafar says that during his stay he said he was doing charitable work too. The siblings said they went off his LinkedIn profile and it seemed to be populated with high-profile contacts.

She said: “He also claimed that he was a QC barrister and during discussion we found that he has a vast knowledge of law and legislations.

“He told us he has his own law chamber and could help us in our family’s immigration cases, because of our positive gestures during his crucial time of his life. We trusted him and my brother paid him £1500 and agreed to pay £1000 after.”

Miss Zafar’s brother is the sponsor to her two other brothers and family’s visas. The siblings themselves hold Belgium nationality. Both are students whilst her brother also works at KFC to support them.

They were told to contact Ashton Fox Solicitors – a firm which they did not know at the time had already gone bust. The solicitor was only contactable on text message and e-mails. A Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) spokesperson told us: “That firm has been closed for the last eight years.”

Miss Zaffer said: “He sent all my brother’s and family documents to his ‘chamber’ and said he will be responsible of all documentations regarding the immigration cases.

“I still tried to chase him up, but he is not responding to any of my calls.

“This incident was not taken lightly by my brother, he is having the anxiety attacks, does not manage to sleep all night and his mental health has been badly affected. He is so worried about identity theft as he handed all his details over.”

Miss Zafar said she saved e-mails and Ali Bin Muhammad and the picture is the same person who lived at their house. Miss Zafar also showed text believed to be from 'Ali' which promises to deliver on the promise that had been made.

We attempted to contact ‘Ali Bin Mohammad’ via e-mail and telephone for a response but had no success.

We attempted to contact the lawyer purporting to be from Ashton Fox Solicitors Lawyer but had no success.

The woman said she had reported the incident to the police but was told to report it to Action Fraud.

Action Fraud takes reports from members of the public on behalf of the police.  It also gives fraud prevention advice and guidance. Action Fraud does not have investigative powers.

Action Fraud confirmed they had received a report from the woman in February 2021. It said it was assessed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau at the City of London Police which found there were not any leads that would result in a successful criminal investigation at this time.

A statement read: “With well over 800,000 reports coming into the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau a year, not all cases can be passed for further investigation. The NFIB, therefore, has to prioritise those cases with viable lines of enquiry.

“A letter has been sent to the victim to explain that the case is not being passed on for investigation. However, the report has been recorded on our system as an information report and will be used by the NFIB for intelligence purposes."