Phishing scammer fleeces construction boss of $44k while serving home detention for similar offending

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Hamilton East man Sumit Kumar scammed a construction boss out of $44,000 – offending he did while serving a sentence for other money laundering offending. Photo / 123rf

A man who created a phishing scam, fleecing a construction company owner out of more than $40,000, managed to do it from the comfort of his home, while serving home detention for similar offending.

Sumit Kumar was serving that sentence for other money laundering in August last year and will now be deported once he serves his new jail sentence that was handed down today.

Given his impending deportation, Kumar’s counsel, Glen Prentice told Judge Denise Clark in the Hamilton District Court – there was no point handing down a reparation order as he will be stuck in a jail cell utill he leaves.


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Kumar – who beamed in for sentencing via audio-visual link from prison – used a sim-swapping scheme in conjunction with a phishing email to get the bank account information of the victim, who was a Napier construction company owner, during the verification process.

The victim was encouraged to click on the link which looked similar to one used by his own bank, named as “one of the country’s five major banks”.

Unknown to the victim, his bank details were skimmed, his account hacked and two lots of money withdrawn.

The first was worth $24,258, and the second $20,000.


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Kumar, 27, then used the money to buy cryptocurrency.

On August 18, Kumar withdrew $4000 from an ATM near his home.

He then sent funds to two different companies totalling $18,405.17.

However, the victim’s bank was able to retrieve some of the money which was heading offshore and $19,542 remained outstanding.

At his earlier sentence indication, the judge noted he did this while serving a sentence and came to an end start point of 30 months’ prison.

Judge Clark’s decision today was whether to hand down any discount for his letter of remorse, which Prentice handed up to her.

Kumar, who was living in Hamilton East at the time of his crime, wrote that he now had insight into his offending, the effect it’s had on his victims and completed a behaviour skills course while in custody.

Judge Clark noted the differing views from his pre-sentence report which stated he hadn’t accepted responsibility for what he’d done.

However, she decided to give him “the benefit of the doubt”, with a two-month discount, resulting in a jail term of 28 months.

Kumar, who first appeared in court on the money laundering charge in December last year, will then have to leave the country.


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Belinda Feek has been a reporter for 19 years, and at the Herald for eight years, joining the Open Justice team in 2022.

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