A court hearing to claw back about £500,000 from an “intelligent and devious” fraudster has again been adjourned while she prepares her case to fight the claim.
Convicted money launderer Musarat Sultana is accused of making £558,000 from her criminality and the Crown is determined that she will pay it back.
Sultana, 40, of Springcliffe, Manningham, Bradford, was jailed for four years in December 2012 for processing more than £400,000 of criminal cash through her bank accounts.
Yesterday she was back at Bradford Crown Court when a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was further delayed until September 22.
Peter Hampton, barrister for the Crown, said a restraining order had been placed on Sultana’s three bank accounts and investigators were looking at “tainted gifts” she gave to others, and a house in Kensington Street, Girlington, Bradford.
Mr Hampton said the possibility of hidden assets was also being addressed. As many as five witnesses might be called by Sultana to contest the benefit figure.
The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, ordered Sultana’s solicitors to send monthly written reports on their progress to the court and to the Crown’s investigating team.
Judge Thomas said there would be “an absolute, utter and final conclusion” to the case at the next hearing.
A jury convicted Sultana of channelling criminal cash through her bank accounts between 2004 and 2010.
She was found guilty of seven offences of fraud and concealing criminal property. She was found to have used some of her ill-gotten gains to commit a mortgage fraud to buy the house in Kensington Street.
She was arrested in December 2010 after an investigation by West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit. Sultana claimed the credits into her accounts were from a resident in India, a Mr Subir Dasgupta, with whom she was in a relationship.
Judge Thomas told her she acted “entirely out of greed”, almost boasting about her lifestyle during the trial.
She refused to say where the money had come from but the judge said “the world of drugs misuse” could be a factor.