Shazad Hussain of Primary Way, Bradford, who was prosecuted and convicted of five offences of Fraud by Abuse of Position and sentenced to 45 months imprisonment in January 2016, was yesterday ordered to repay £462,515.81.
A complex investigation by Bradford Council’s Corporate Fraud Team and the West Yorkshire Joint Services’ Financial Investigation Service identified that Hussain had fraudulently abused his position as a trusted family member.
He dishonestly took control of £316,000 of direct care payments and welfare benefits paid to various vulnerable members of his family and then failed to use the funds for their intended purpose. His relatives were particularly vulnerable due to their reliance upon him.
The benefits administered by the local authority were to enable his vulnerable relatives to pay for essential care services. However over a number of years the defendant had abused his position of trust, taking control of the family finances and controlling every aspect of his vulnerable relative’s expenditure.
The investigation revealed that over the course of six years Hussain had also siphoned off a significant portion of his family’s benefit monies for his own personal gain.
It was discovered that monies intended to pay for care services and his relatives living expenses had in fact been transferred into accounts held in his sole name with some of the funds having been used by him to purchase luxury items including a private number plate and gold bullion. Other funds were left to accumulate in his various accounts, accruing interest for his sole gain.
Following a four week trial at Bradford Crown Court in January 2016, the jury found the defendant guilty of five offences of Fraud by abuse of position. He was sentenced to 45 months imprisonment and the Prosecutor asked for the case to proceed to confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Following a five day contested confiscation hearing at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, a confiscation order was made by His Honour Judge Savill on 7 February 2018 requiring the defendant to pay £462,515.81.
The Judge found that the defendant had benefited from criminal conduct to the value of £671,782.34. However as the defendant only had assets of £462,515.81 available, he was ordered to pay the lesser amount.
Coun Val Slater, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Mr Hussain was trusted by vulnerable members of his family to act in their best interests and he abused that trust. It’s absolutely right to pursue him for those funds. We are committed to ensuring that vulnerable people get the support they are entitled to. We will always deal robustly with any fraud and with partner agencies we will pursue recompense in order to both protect vulnerable people and recoup taxpayers’ money.”
Linda Davis Head of West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation & Abuse Team (West Yorkshire Joint Services), said: “We do everything we can to stop criminals profiting from their crimes and to recover the money to fund the public purse. Ensuring that individuals do not benefit financially from criminal activity is paramount, and this joint investigation has resulted in money intended to be used for the social care and wellbeing of vulnerable adults, being recovered.”
For more information please contact Helen Robinson, West Yorkshire Joint Services, t:0113 253 0241