A magistrate and her boyfriend have been found guilty of trying to fleece her landlady out of more than £60,000, it was reported on Tuesday (11).
Alia Arain, 38, along with her boyfriend Ashad Adams, 40, and his friend Mohammed Shalim Ahmed, 40, forged the landlady’s signature on a checque after a chequebook was accidentally sent to Arain’s address.
Arain and Adams had planned to start a new life after completing the crime. But they were caught before they could leave the country.
Head of Counter Terrorism Command Alexis Boon said: “The group’s scheme quickly began falling apart when Adams and Ahmed tried to launder a large portion of the cash by changing into euros at a money exchange bureau in Heathrow Airport.
“The staff were rightly suspicious and called the police who from that point began unpicking the group’s criminality.”
When police arrived, they discovered that Adams was wanted for having unpaid court fines. Adams asked Ahmed to pay them off.
Although police let Ahmed go, they arrested Adams for hiring a car while disqualified.
Detectives found heroin, the landlady’s chequebook and a bank statement inside the car.
Ahmed was free to leave, but he set out to spend the remaining money from the fraud on a £10,450 Rolex watch.
Boon continued: “Much to Ahmed’s chagrin, the bank did not clear the cheque, leaving Ahmed more than £40,000 overdrawn.
“Ahmed, realising he would have to pay off the overdraft, had the audacity to call the money crime hotline Action Fraud and claim he had been a victim of fraud.”
Arain was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
She pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court on November 29, 2018, and was ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay a victim surcharge of £140.
Adams, of Catford, was sentenced to three years’ and three months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, converting criminal property, possession of drugs and breaching a suspended sentence. He must also pay a victim surcharge of £170.
Ahmed of Rainham, Essex, was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, for money laundering and converting criminal property.
Boon said: “This group wholeheartedly believed they would pull off their crime and end up with a third of the proceeds each, but they didn’t count on the diligence of money exchange bureau staff.
“The actions of staff at the money exchange bureau were superb – they have helped ensure that a considerable fraud was stopped and the culprits held to account.
“The victim has been reimbursed the money by her bank.£