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Fraudster jailed over false immigration project grant claims

21/07/2017

A gang which fraudulently obtained more than £1.1million in grants by claiming to run immigration projects which did not exist have been handed prison sentences today (July 21).

The scheme involved applications to the Home Office over a four-year period for payments from the European Integration Fund - an EU fund aimed at helping immigrants integrate in the UK.

Mohammed Chaudhari, Suraiya Alam and Victoria Sherrey had each denied committing fraud by false representation but were convicted following a four-week trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Chaudhari was jailed for seven years at the same court today, while Alam and Sherrey were handed suspended prison sentences.

The trial heard how the defendants submitted applications from various businesses over the course of the fraud - each application and subsequent audit checks were supported by bogus documentation including wage slips and invoices.

Among the items Chaudhari spent the proceeds of his fraud on were a Bentley car, gold jewellery and rent for a luxury apartment in central London.

The scam was stopped when officials at the Home Office became suspicious and contacted police.

Nina Montalbano, from the CPS, said:

"These defendants cynically and deliberately took more than £1.1million from a fund which was designed to help people settle in the UK.

"Through careful analysis of the evidence, the CPS worked with investigators to build a strong case which resulted in the guilty verdicts returned by the jury."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Nina Montalbano is a lawyer with the CPS Specialist Fraud Division.
  2. Details of sentences:
    • Mohammed Chaudhari: seven years' imprisonment. Directors Disqualification Order for 15 years.
    • Suraiya Alam: one year imprisonment, suspended for two years. Unpaid work requirement of 100 hours and a three-month electronic curfew. Directors Disqualification Order for five years.
    • Victoria Sherrey: two years' imprisonment, suspended for two years. Unpaid work requirement of 200 hours and a six-month electronic curfew. Directors Disqualification Order for five years.
  3. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  4. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233