A FORMER car wash owner has been jailed after scamming banks to fund his controversial Mirfield mansion. Mohammed Azam Yaqoob – known locally as Mr Sparkles after the name of his car wash – was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for using money from fraudulent loans to buy and renovate the Huddersfield Road property.
The millionaire had also benefited from proceeds of a separate fraud against an engineering insurance firm.
Sentencing Azam Yaqoob at York Crown Court yesterday, Judge James Spencer QC told him: “Your ambition to succeed materially has led you to commit crime.
“You have been at the heart of a scheme to obtain hundreds of thousands of pounds and I see no mitigation in your case.”
Last month a jury returned a majority verdict on the 40-year-old, finding him guilty of one charge of fraud, two of money laundering and three of theft.
The court heard that Azam Yaqoob had got his brother to apply for a mortgage to pay for the Mirfield house.
But he lied about his income to get the £274,350 mortgage and lied twice more to get remortgages to fund renovations.
The jury was told that the true owner of the home was Azam Yaqoob and by using the fraudulent loans to fund the project, he was guilty of money laundering.
Azam Yaqoob was also given £115,000 from a fraud against Oldham-based engineering firm HSB.
He knew it was the proceeds of crime but took the cash anyway, withdrawing £70,000 from his account.
Graham Reeds QC, prosecuting, said that the father-of-three had a string of previous convictions for handling stolen goods.
In 2005 he was slapped with a community order for being in possession of computers from a stolen lorry.
Judge Spencer heard that Azam Yaqoob moved to the country from Pakistan with his family aged seven.
The eldest of eight children, he dropped out of his law degree at Huddersfield Polytechnic to start his own business and support his family.
Abbas Lakha, defending, said: “He accepts that in his naivety and anxiety to achieve financial security for the family he did cut corners.
“But he has tried to right some of these wrongs as far as these offences are concerned.
“There was never an intention that loss should be caused to the financial vendors, this was to be a family home they genuinely intended to occupy. The criminality is at the lowest end of mortgage frauds.”
But Judge Spencer rejected that there was any mitigation in Azam Yaqoob’s case.
He said: “It’s significant that from an early age you have been extremely ambitious to succeed, to progress materially and ambitious to establish your family in some lifestyle.
“That driving ambition has led you to crime.
“The jury convicted you of theft of money which you applied to your own use. This is serious and I see no mitigation in your case.
“To compound that over a significant period you have been at the heart of this property and its finances and it’s quite clear to me that you were at the heart of this scheme to obtain mortgages by deceit.
“You were at the heart of the scheme to obtain from the bank hundreds of thousands of pounds. That you were prepared to utilise your brother aggravates the matter.
“There’s no alternative to an immediate custodial sentence.”
Azam Yaqoob showed no emotion as the judge sentenced him to 30 months in prison.
Judge Spencer told him would serve half before being released on licence.