Would-be suitors who lost out during a wedding scam could receive some compensation.

A judge has ruled that the former couple behind the fraud should pay back almost £25,000.

Victims of the scam run by former Huddersfield woman Sidra Fatima and her then husband Raja Ali were said to have handed over cash and jewellery worth around £35,000.

Fatima was given a suspended prison sentence back in January 2014 after she posed as a prospective bride on a match-making website.

Ali pretended to be her brother or cousin during meetings with their victims and the pair were also involved in other types of insurance and mortgage fraud which helped to fund their comfortable lifestyle at the time.

Fatima had her 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years while Ali, of Springbank Road, Bradley Mills, Huddersfield, was jailed for a total of 30 months.

Ali, who is no longer in custody, appeared before Judge Colin Burn at Bradford Crown Court today for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Bradford Crown Court

Fatima, who recently gave birth, was not fit to attend the hearing, but after discussions between representatives for the prosecution and defence it was agreed that the former couple’s benefit figure from criminal conduct should be set at just over £121,000.

An investigation into their financial affairs concluded that Ali had an available amount of £20,000 while Fatima was able to pay back £4,132.

Each of them will have three months to repay the money which will then be used to pay some compensation to the victims of their frauds.

If the money is not paid Fatima could face two months behind bars while Ali could be locked up for 10 months.

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Bradford Crown Court heard last year that Fatima and Ali were working as a team to dupe would-be husbands.

‘’The various suitors were not told that Fatima and Ali were married,’’ said prosecutor John Harrison.

‘’Following the initial meeting Fatima would agree to a marriage. She would then insist that the complainant hand over money to pay for the wedding and also purchase items for the wedding to give to her in the form of a dowry.

‘’The defendants made significant sums from this fraudulent activity. It was, the prosecution say, and audacious if simple fraud.’’

It is understood that the seven victims included men from Yorkshire and as far afield as Southern England and at least one of them only had the strength to come forward after he saw media coverage of the police investigation into the scams.

Sidra Fatima and Raja Ali ordered to pay back cash
Sidra Fatima and Raja Ali ordered to pay back cash

Mr Harrison submitted victim impact statements from several of the complainants and said the the social embarrassment caused by the offences was a very significant matter for all of them.

Fatima, then 33, admitted fraud offences against seven would-be husbands and also pleaded guilty to further charges of mortgage fraud and insurance fraud relating to a property at Coppice Drive, Netherton, Huddersfield.

The court heard she gave false details about her employment and income to obtain a £171,000 mortgage on the house, which had been owned by Ali, and she later obtained an insurance pay-out of £25,000 after submitting a bogus burglary claim.

Ali, then 45, admitted involvement in six of the wedding offences as well as further fraud matters relating to two bogus burglary claims and swindling £36,000 from a man who had thought he was able to buy the Coppice Drive property from him.

Barristers for Fatima and Ali made counter allegations about how the offences had come to be committed, but the court heard that Ali himself had contacted the police about the wedding offences back in 2010.

Mr Harrison said when Fatima was arrested at a house in Suffolk Rise, Sheepridge, Huddersfield, officers found a Jaguar car on the drive with a Volvo in the garage.

He said photographs of the interior of the property showed it was a very comfortable and well laid out house.