Gang who seduced closeted men and threatened to out them to wives jailed
Three men were jailed after they extorted thousands from married men in a “callous” blackmail plot.
The trio targeted two victims using escort websites and Grindr. One of the men, Kamar Ilyas, 32, would have sex with them while the others filmed.
They would then threaten to out the men to their wives unless they paid them between £20,000 and £40,000.
Ilyas and his accomplices Aman Khan, 32 and Khalil Chaudhry, 29, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and blackmail. Ilyas also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
On Wednesday (27 April), the Burnley Crown Court sentenced Ilyas to six years and three months in prison, Khan was jailed for six years and Chaudhry was given a sentence of five years and eight months.
Judge Simon Medland described one of the plots as a “remarkably similar honeytrap blackmail case where a respectable married man was identified and exploited”.
Medland condemned the three men for taking advantage of their victims and their difficulties in being open about their sexuality.
Khan secretly filmed Ilyas and one victim during a sexual encounter in a Manchester hotel in November 2020, the Lancashire Police said.
Prosecuting, Sarah Haque said the first victim was a married father from Manchester who comes from an “ethnic community where homosexuality is not permitted”. She said he’d used male escort websites to connect with others, including Ilyas.
The two men threatened to tell the victim’s wife if he didn’t pay them between £20,000 and £25,000. They called and messaged the victim demanding money before taking a picture of the man’s car outside his workplace.
The victim then called the police, but the men managed to escape the authorities.
Police said Ilyas and Khan then plotted to blackmail a second victim with Chaudhry. Ilyas lured this victim to a property in Nelson, Lancashire on 8 February, 2021, after contacting him on Grindr just days before.
Khan and Chaudhry burst into a room after Ilyas and the victim undressed, and took a video of the naked men.
They then took photos of the victim’s ID and lied that Ilyas was their 15-year-old nephew.
“Khan told the victim that Ilyas was only 15 years old and asked him what he was doing,” Haque said.
“Although he looked younger, it was quite clear he could not pass for a 15-year-old child.”
She said the victim “tried to get up” but was pushed back on the bed. Haque also described how the victim asked for “Chaudhry to be reasonable and even tried to protect Ilyas”.
The men threatened to tell the victim’s wife and post the video on social media unless he paid them £40,000. They then took his car before returning it a couple of days later.
The court heard how one of the victims was “petrified for himself and the consequences and also his family given the aggression of the man, how long they kept him and the fact they clearly knew where he lived”.
The victim then told his wife, and she reported the plot to the police.
A lawyer for Ilyas, the man who slept with the victims, said his client, a married dad-of-one, was pressured into being involved in the blackmail plot and didn’t use any violence or receive any money.
Lawyer Mohammed Qazi also argued that Ilyas spent a year in custody and, as a result, lived with ill health and has been put on psychiatric medication.
Defending accomplice Khan, Douglas Stewart noted that his client had a lack of previous convictions and a history of being a hard worker before the incident. Stewert claimed that Khan was just a getaway driver for the others.
Chaudhry’s defence, Barry Grennan, said his client was only involved in one of the plots. He added that Chaudhry was supporting his wife, their young daughter and his wife’s family by working long hours.
As such, Grennan argued his client would struggle in jail, and he said Chaudhry felt such remorse that it was unlikely he’d offend again.
Police officer DC Hannah Dermody described the men’s actions as a “callous plot” to deliberately exploit the “vulnerabilities of the victims for their own financial gain”.
“I would like to praise the victims for their bravery in what have understandably been extremely distressing times,” Dermody said.
Dermody encouraged any further victims of this “blackmail conspiracy” to come forward, saying they will be believed and their identities will be protected.
Any further victims can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101.