AN ambitious property entrepreneur has been jailed for 32 months after he masterminded a £1m mortgage scam.
Married father-of-four Shazad Arshid built up his existing portfolio of buy-to-let properties by submitting fraudulent mortgage applications for a series of other premises in Huddersfield and Bradford over a four-year period.
In all he defrauded mortgage companies of £1,113,202.
Bradford Crown Court heard how Arshid, of York Avenue, Fartown, used false employment and income details on applications for mortgages and also recruited trusting associates to act as prospective purchasers because he had a county court judgement against his name.
Prosecutor Imran Shafi told the court that Arshid, 37, was also involved in a £26,000 housing benefit fraud against Kirklees Council which centred on a multi-occupancy building at Swan Lane, Lockwood.
Mr Shafi said Arshid, who was a director of S and S Properties, rented out the Swan Lane premises and other properties to mainly eastern European tenants.
But he claimed housing benefit either for people not living at the addresses or for tenants who were also paying him rent in cash.
An investigation was launched into the housing benefit fraud in late 2007, but Judge Colin Burn was told that all of the overpayments had subsequently been recouped by the council.
Arshid, who had no previous convictions, admitted conspiracy to defraud Kirklees Council and further charges relating to the various mortgage applications, but his lawyer Rachim Singh submitted that none of the lenders had actually lost out as all the loans were secured against the properties and all the mortgage payments were up to date.
Mr Singh stressed that it was not a case involving the disappearance of a large sum of money which was used to fund “a lavish lifestyle of expensive cars or holidays.”
Mr Singh said Arshid was a man of exemplary previous character who had helped drug addicts and the homeless with accommodation.
As a result of his conviction Arshid now faces proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act which could result in him being stripped of any available assets.
Jailing Arshid, Judge Burn said he was the real force and lynch pin behind the frauds and he had persuaded the others to become involved.
“In many other aspects you are an up-standing person, you are an honest person and a helpful person, but this is large-scale fraud Mr Arshid.”
Arshid was jailed for 30 months for the mortgage offences with a concurrent term of 16 months for the conspiracy to defraud the council.
Judge Burn also banned him from working as a company director for the next five years.
Brothers Mohammed Razwan Nazir, 30, and Mohammed Shahid Nazir, 34, both of Blackmoorfoot Road, Crosland Moor, were given suspended prison sentences.
Mohammed Razwan Nazir was said to have been shamelessly exploited by Arshid over his admitted involvement in some of the mortgage applications and the conspiracy to defraud the council.
He was sentenced to 20 months in jail, suspended for two years, and told to do the maximum 300 hours unpaid work for the community.
His brother, who also admitted involvement in mortgage fraud, had his eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work.
A fourth defendant Zafar Arshid, 28, of Glebe Street, Huddersfield, pleaded guilty to obtaining a money transfer by deception in relation to one of the properties and he was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,500 costs.