A serial extortionist has been jailed for terrorising a woman after her ex-boyfriend fled the country with £3,000 of his cash.
Tahmin Chowdhury warned the woman she wasn’t safe to walk home from work and that her “house was at risk” over the unpaid debt which was nothing to do with her.
His threats, in part, drove her to carry out an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.
The 29-year-old, currently behind bars at HMP Perth for a previous extortion offence, left her so scared she paid him £500 from her own pocket out of fear.
Fiscal depute Brian Young said Chowdhury got hold of the woman’s phone number on November 10 2020 and called her to “attempt to resolve the situation”.
He demanded £3,000 from her ex and her aunt before stating that if he did not receive the money then “she and her house would be at risk”.
“He also stated that she was not safe to walk to work unless payment was made to him,” the fiscal added.
“Concerned for their safety, the witnesses offered to pay him £500. He accepted this on the condition that they paid a further £400 each fortnight until the debt was paid in full.”
Victim attempted suicide
The fiscal said the young woman was so scared and upset by the threats to her safety that she attempted to take her own life.
After she received a further abusive phone call from Chowdhury the following day, again reiterating demands for the cash, she reported the matter to the police.
Defence agent George Mathers said his client was “essentially just trying to get back his own money”.
He explained Chowdhury had mentioned to his then-friend how he intended to invest £3,000 in Bitcoin, but took up an offer from his pal to let him invest it on his behalf.
‘He took the £3k and disappeared’
“It turned out to be a good investment for that man, but not for my client,” Mr Mathers added. “Because he kept it. He took the £3,000 and disappeared.
“He blocked his number and left the country. He was frustrated so asked his friend’s girlfriend where the money was. She told him ‘the police took it’. That was not true but it made him think she was in on it.
“Having already been cheated on a previous occasion he felt cheated again. This turned to anger and he made the threats.”
He said Chowdhury, whose family owns a food carryout chain in Aberdeen, has suffered depression since his imprisonment and is feeling “guilt” at not being near his girlfriend of six years as she battles an illness.
‘It wasn’t her fault’
“He feels huge guilt,” Mr Mathers added. “His family is ashamed of him for acting in this way but are supporting him nevertheless.
“He is very sorry for the trouble he has caused in particular to the woman because it wasn’t her fault.
“Whatever her boyfriend had done, he shouldn’t have been threatening her and bothering her.”
Chowdhury admitted making threats and extorting money between November 10 to 13, 2020.
He also admitted a further charge of threatening and abusive behaviour at a chicken shop on November 11 the same year.
‘Fists were flying’ in chicken joint
The court heard how the former Aberdeen Grammar pupil and Aberdeen University dropout was arrested after being involved in a “fistfight” within Pepe’s Piri Piri restaurant.
The ruckus in the King Street premises came about after Chowdhury spotted another apparent debtor there who he said owed him £4,000 which he had loaned him to buy a barber’s chair.
The restaurant manager told police how “fists were flying” between Chowdhury and four other men after he hurled racist abuse at them and demanded to be paid back his money.
He’ll remain banged up
Sheriff Andrew Miller heard how Chowdhury, a prisoner at HMP Perth but formerly of Great Northern Road, Aberdeen, was due to be released from prison next month.
He told Chowdhury: “I accept that someone else, a third party, had money that belonged to you, but that appears to have had nothing to do with either of the women to whom your threats and extortion were directed.
“Even if it had it goes without saying that the correct course of action for you would have been to report this to the police rather than taking the matter into your own hands.
“This woman was afraid to walk home from work and your threats at least contributed to her state of mind that led her to attempt to take her own life.”
He handed him a further 15 months behind bars.
For all the latest court cases in Aberdeen, as well as the latest crime and breaking incidents, join our new Facebook group HERE.