30 August 2012
Go Straight to Prison – Do Not Pass Go or Collect £200
A benefit and mortgage fraudster has been sent back to prison
after failing to pay his Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of
Mohammed Wasi Sheikh, 48, formerly of Northview Road, Luton, was
sentenced to 15 months in prison in February 2010. He pleaded
guilty to eight fraud charges relating to housing benefit claims,
income support claims and mortgage fraud and had served the
sentence for the crimes he committed.
He had also been ordered to repay money to the state through a
Confiscation Order granted under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which
he failed to do, and as a result is now beginning a further 21
months in prison.
Luton Crown Court heard at the POCA Confiscation Order hearing
in April 2011, that the total value of Sheikh’s fraud was £398,482,
with the criminal benefit to him deemed to be £265,100. The court
assessed his available assets to be £67,131.57. He was ordered to
repay this amount to the taxpayer within six months, or face a
further spell in prison.
Last Friday (Aug 24) Sheikh was back before the court for a
Default Hearing, having not made any payment at all,
and was returned to prison for 21 months which he will serve in
full. When he is released, the Confiscation Order will still be
payable, and he will still owe the full £67,131.57.
The fraud came to light in 2008 when Luton Borough Council and
the Department of Work and Pensions became suspicious about his
benefit claims. Bedfordshire Police became involved and it was
discovered that both Wasi and his brother Mohammed Zaki Sheikh had
obtained mortgages brokered by London man, Gillies St Juste.
St Juste, also known as Anthony Yates or Mohammed Ibrahim, aged
48, had been a mortgage broker and had used this status to arrange
a large amount of fraudulent mortgages for himself and others. He
had even re-mortgaged his own mother’s home without her knowledge,
using someone else’s name. He was eventually jailed for four and
half years for eleven charges of various fraudulent activities
totalling around £1.5 million.
The Sheikh brothers had presented false statements about their
income in order to buy property.* Zaki Sheikh, 50, of Cutenhoe
Road, Luton, was given a 12 month suspended jail sentence and 200
hours of unpaid work for falsely presenting payslips in order to
get a mortgage on his home.
“We do a lot of publicity on this subject because there is a
perception amongst both criminals and the general public that once
you’ve “done your time”, it’s a free pass to enjoy the fruits of
your dishonest labour. That idea could not be further from the
truth. When people have been convicted of a crime where they have
benefited financially, a Confiscation Order to recover their ill
gotten gains is made against them,” said Sgt Giles Hutchinson, who
investigated the case from the police side.
“The fact is that a Confiscation Order stays with you until the
day you die or until you pay it. If you do not pay it within in the
time stipulated by the Court you will sent back to prison and serve
your default sentence in full, and still be required to pay your
Confiscation Order upon your release. I’m delighted that the Court
has sent Sheikh back to prison as it needs to be made abundantly
clear to people like him, that they cannot live off hard-working
tax payers and honest businesses.”
Every year, Bedfordshire Police confiscates money and assets
from criminals to the tune of over £1million – the proceeds of tax
evasion, benefit fraud, drug dealing or other criminal activity.
Amounts can be as little of £500 in cash found in a suspect’s car,
or six-figure property portfolios located on the
other side of the world.
Some of this money comes back to the local police and is used to
fund more crime-fighting and crime prevention activities.
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