Couple jailed over £65,000 estate firm scam

Doli Begum and husband Syed Shah

A fraudster has been jailed for swindling an estate management company at which she worked out of more than £65,000 in a joint scam with her husband.

Doli Begum got the job as a property manager at the firm in 2010 by using false references and then used her position to pay the cash into bogus accounts.

The 27-year-old arranged for work to be done on leasehold developments.

She was authorised to sign-off payments to contractors of up to £1,000.

But Begum, of Coppenhall Grove, Stechford, was caught in May 2012 when she tried to put through £53,000 worth of payments, on 58 separate invoices, all for just under £1,000.

When the payment was stopped, she resigned but police were informed about the £65,000 she had already stolen and an investigation was launched by West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit.

Enquiries revealed that Begum had conspired with her husband Syed Shah, 28, to set-up three companies, one in 2010 and two in 2011, using bogus names and email addresses.

She then directed all the work out to those companies without any tendering, with the work either never being done or so vastly over-inflated it was criminal.

Sentencing the pair at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (17 January) Judge Richard Bond described Doli Begum as the “brains” behind the operation.

He told her that that fact she resigned and then attempted to obtain further employment using fraudulent references showed a continuation of her dishonest behaviour.

In mitigation, Begum’s barrister argued that she should be spared jail because she was pregnant and cared for her wheelchair-bound mother.

But, Judge Bond told the pair the amounts involved were so vast he had little choice but to give custodial sentences. Begum was jailed for 26 months and Shah for 20 months.

Dc Richard Causier, from West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “As is often the case with fraudsters, Begum and Shah were caught as a direct result of their own greed.

“Begum fraudulently obtained her position, abused the trust of her employer and then tried to do the same again. Thanks to the vigilance of her co-workers it was only a matter of time before we caught up with her.

“Proceedings are now underway to get back the stolen cash, some of which we know was used by the pair to put down a deposit on a property, a property they won’t be able to enjoy now they’re in prison.”

 

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