Property fraudster jailed for 45 months after National Trading Standards investigation
A property fraudster has been jailed following his conviction on 9 counts of fraud, theft and forgery. Tahir Khaliq was sentenced to 45-months imprisonment at Bolton Crown Court.
His accomplice Paul Dickinson, acting as an employee in the property businesses, received a two-year suspended sentence and 240 hours of community service for his involvement in 6 counts of insurance fraud. Their convictions follow a lengthy investigation by the National Trading Standards North West Regional Investigations Team.
Mr Khaliq operated a series of property companies which he used as a vehicle for his fraudulent activity. This included a fraud which saw potential tenants pay holding deposits – usually between £200 and £400 – only for the defendants to take the money as a non-refundable payment, which they often claimed as ‘processing fees’ for unsuccessful tenancy applications.
The offences came to light after several complaints were received by Rochdale Trading Standards who then carried out a formal investigation into the business practices of Tahir Khaliq. Rochdale Trading Standards worked in partnership with the Regional Investigation Team.
This fraud was particularly pernicious as many of the victims were left in severe financial difficulty by the fraud, with Mr Khaliq in some instances targeting people in vulnerable situations. As a result of the fraud, one woman was forced into a Mother and Baby Unit and another was forced into grave financial difficulty while trying to save money to leave her violent and abusive partner.
Most of their victims – many of whom were from the Rochdale, Bury and Oldham areas – were unable to get their money back. Khaliq deployed a number of tactics for avoiding customer complaints including operating under false names. For example he corresponded under the name ‘Jack Daniels’ with a number of victims.
Mr Khaliq was also engaged in other illegal activities relating to his property businesses including forging documents, theft of rent from landlords, council tax fraud and insurance fraud.
In addition to the convictions, a Proceeds of Crime Act Order to the amount of £100,000 has been secured against Mr Khaliq, of which the sum of £9,500 is to be paid to the identified deposit fraud victims in compensation. Furthermore, a Proceeds of Crime Act Order to the amount of £24,424 was secured against Mr Dickinson. Mr Khaliq and Mr Dickinson will pay combined costs of £130,000.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:
“This offending involved targeting a number of financially vulnerable people in need of low cost rental accommodation and left them in severe financial difficulties. They enriched themselves while showing no regard for the situations they were leaving there victims in.
“I am pleased that the work of National Trading Standards has led to these convictions and would like to thank the investigating officers for their efforts. National Trading Standards is committed to protecting to consumers and we will continue to clamp down on this sort of criminal behaviour.
“I urge anyone considering getting involved in similar schemes to make sure they do their due diligence – you should undertake background research on the person or business you’ll be working with and always ask for references. If you suspect you are being scammed or defrauded then you should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.“
In sentencing Mr Khaliq His Honour Judge Smith said:
“[Mr Khaliq] became accustomed to putting his own selfish interests before others. You were involved in several fraudulent activities that all took place over an overlapping period. You had a leading role actively involved in each fraud; other employees were involved however [this offending] took place over a long period of time and you had high culpability in relation to the deposit fraud aspects; some of whom were vulnerable.“
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