Holme Wood Christian centre worker raided bank accounts of vulnerable adults

Thief Mohammed Awais

Thief Mohammed Awais

First published in Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

A greedy Bradford teenager working for a Christian organisation betrayed the trust of vulnerable adults to raid their bank accounts, a court heard.

Mohammed Awais, 18, used his position as a trainee project advice assistant with the Hope Christian Care Centre in Holme Wood, Bradford, to get bank details from people he was helping to fill in forms for benefit claims, then purchased goods for himself.

Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court was told Awais did not disclose his criminal record to the centre and it would have been highly unlikely he would have gained employment with them had he done so. Victims did not blame the centre for their loss, the court was told.

Prosecutor Charles McRae told District Judge Susan Bouch: “He misused his position to gain the details.

The only motive appears to be personal greed.” Mr McRae said the centre provided help, particularly financial advice, to vulnerable adults who needed advice claiming benefits.

He said the victims asked Awais for help filling in financial forms, for the likes of Disability Living Allowance, and provided their bank details, which he copied and used.

Mr McRae said the amounts involved were not great but the impact on the victims was – with a number going overdrawn when they were on limited financial means.

Awais, of Hope Avenue, Marshfields, Bradford, pleaded guilty to five charges of fraud by abuse of position and one of dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain.

The prosecutor said Awais used one victim’s details to buy a £10 curry and £40 of phone cards.

The victim told investigators he was left feeling vulnerable and upset. “I trusted him and feel he took advantage of my vulnerability.”

A woman victim said: “I felt sick to my stomach. I can’t believe he did this to me. “He knew I didn’t have a lot of money. How could he do it? My trust in people has now gone.”

Solicitor Upkar Bahia, representing Awais, who was wearing a bright red and blue tracksuit top and a silver-coloured ear stud, said his client accepted he was in a position of trust and was dealing with vulnerable clients.

Mrs Bouch said she would send the case to the crown court to be sentenced by a judge.

Granting Awais conditional bail, she said: “I am going to ask probation to prepare a report to help the court come to the right sentence.”

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