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Keighley housing scam pair escape immediate jail terms
7:00am Saturday 7th September 2013 in News
Two men who met in jail have escaped immediate prison sentences for a housing scam.
Abdul Kai, 70, was serving eight years behind bars for drugs smuggling when he encountered Shakil Ahmed, described by a judge as “clearly a dishonest man.”
Yesterday, the men appeared together in the dock at Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud Bradford Council of £17,295 in housing benefit. Ahmed, 31, also admitted six offences of acquiring criminal property, namely almost £170,000 paid into six bank accounts across the country. The court heard that Khai and Ahmed, who both live on Devonshire Street, Keighley, committed the benefit fraud over four-and-a-half years. Ahmed owned a house on Devonshire Street and lived there with his family while Kai, who was often in Pakistan, said he was the tenant, paying a weekly rent of £95.
Prosecutor Tim Capstick said the fraud lasted from December 2007 to June 2012.
During that time, Ahmed paid £169,799 into six bank accounts. “It is not apparent where the money came from,” Mr Capstick said.
Cash deposits were made into Ahmed’s accounts in West Yorkshire, Luton, Birmingham and Maidenhead while he was on benefits and not filing tax returns.
Ahmed told the police the money was undeclared income. “The source of the income, whatever the suspicions may be, is not known to the prosecution,” Mr Capstick said.
Stephen Wood, for Ahmed, said he had owned up to a complex fraud, saving the public the cost of a trial. Ahmed was repaying Bradford Council at £300 a month. Imran Shafi, for Khai, said he had no previous convictions for dishonesty, prompting Judge David Hatton QC to remark that drugs importation “was not particularly honest.”
Mr Shafi said Kai was paying back the money at £5 a week. Judge Hatton sentenced Khai to eight weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months and ordered him to pay £400 compensation to the Council.
Ahmed was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and 240 hours of unpaid work.
There will be a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation hearing in his case.