Man who conned Student Loans Company sentenced
A former postgraduate student has been sentenced after a scam which saw him con students into falsely applying for more money than they were entitled to from the Student Loans Company and taking a handsome cut from the proceeds.
Waleed Mohamed, 26, from Southall was today [Thursday, 17 January] sentenced at Harrow Crown Court for two counts of fraud between 1 December 2015 to 31 August 2016. He received 16 months' custody suspended for 18 months and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Mohamed approached university students and persuaded them they were legally entitled to more money. He claimed he worked for student finance services or had a contact.
Having gained their trust, Mohamed logged into his victims' student loan accounts and completed a change of circumstances form informing the company that they were no longer living at their parental home and had moved out. This entitled each student up to £3,444 more. Mohamed would then take a cut out of the additional money paid to the student and received £33,653 in this way.
The Student Loans Company paid out an extra £73,267 as a result of the scam.
Suspicions first arose after the Student Loans Company saw a spike in students claiming they were living away from their parents' homes despite attending London universities. Multiple students also provided new addresses in the Southall area where Mohamed lived.
Nigel Drewry, from the CPS, said: "Waleed Mohamed was part of a fraud that resulted in dozens of overpaid student loans from which he handsomely benefitted.
"He told his victims that they would no longer get any financial help from the Student Loans Company if they did not pay him a cut. He used the money to fund his lifestyle and to pay for holidays abroad to Morocco and Canada.
"What is more, Mohamed called the Student Loans Company to chase up payments using the same mobile phone number while pretending to be other students. He also accessed a number of student loan accounts from his computer rousing further suspicion.
"Fraud is illegal and the CPS will continue to work with the police and Student Loans Company to prosecute offenders."
Notes to editors
- Nigel Drewry is a Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS London North