The founder of the UK Bengali TV station Channel S has been jailed for three years for laundering at least half a million pounds from a crash-for-cash insurance scam.
Mohammed Ferdhaus admitted benefiting by at least £500,000 as a result of the scam operated by his brother, Mohammed Samsul Haque. Ferdhaus, 40, of Brentwood, Essex, founded Channel S, a satellite television station for Britain’s Bangladeshi community.
Between 2005 and 2008 at least 124 claims were made by individuals linked to Motor Alliance, a company run by Haque.
After he was given his sentence, Ferdhaus grinned, gave a thumbs up and said “see you soon” to his supporters in the public gallery at Southwark Crown Court, before he was led away from the dock by a security guard.
Haque and five other men were sentenced in October 2011 following the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Scarp. The total loss to the insurance industry was £1.9 million. Of that sum, £1.17 million was paid to Motor Alliance, at least £500,000 of which was transferred to Ferdhaus or companies controlled by him.
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Ferdhaus, who is also known by the first name Jay, pleaded guilty to money laundering on what would have been the first day of his trial in July last year. In 2008 he was jailed for 18 months at Croydon Crown Court for conspiracy to defraud.
Judge Anthony Pitts, passing sentence, noted that Ferdhaus committed the money laundering whilst on bail awaiting his previous trial.
In relation to the latest scam, he said: “You were not charged with complicity in that conspiracy but you were very close to it nevertheless. Samsul Haque was your younger brother, you owned Prestige Auto Group and the evidence showed there was a very close connection between Prestige and Motor Alliance in a number of ways.”
Mr Pitts said Ferdhaus “knew very well” that the money he was laundering came from the crash for cash fraud.
In mitigation, Mark Milliken-Smith QC said his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after being kidnapped and beaten in May 2011. He told the court that if he was jailed “there is real risk he’ll suffer in a way which is far out of proportion with the criminality in this particular case”.
The judge accepted that the defendant was “very well respected in your community”, but ordered that “an immediate custodial sentence of some length must be passed”.
Ferdhaus, of Prettigate Farm, Brentwood, was also banned from being a company director for 10 years. He is the final man to be jailed under Operation Scarp.