A fraudster has been jailed after being convicted on nine counts of fraud, theft and forgery relating to property firms which illegally kept ‘holding deposits’ paid by would-be tenants.
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 six counts of insurance fraud.
The National Trading Standards North West Regional Investigations Team, which investigated the offences, says Khaliq operated a series of property companies.
At least some were used for a fraud involving potential tenants paying what they believed to be holding deposits of £200 to £400; however, Khaliq and Dickinson took the money as non-refundable payments, often claimed by them to be ‘processing fees’ for unsuccessful tenancy applications.
A Trading Standards spokesman says the fraud was particularly pernicious as many of the victims were left in severe financial difficulty by the fraud, with Khaliq described as 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.
The vast majority 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: he corresponded under the name ‘Jack Daniels’ with a number of victims.
Khaliq was also engaged in a number of 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 Khaliq, of which £9,500 is to be paid to the identified deposit fraud victims in compensation. A separate Proceeds of Crime Act Order to the amount of £24,424 was secured against Dickinson.
Khaliq and Dickinson will pay combined costs of £130,000.