A former couple behind a wedding scam who tricked seven would-be suitors out of cash and jewellery worth more than £35,000 are to face a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Former Huddersfield woman Sidra Fatima was given a suspended prison sentence back in January 2014 after she posed as a prospective bride on a match-making website in order to con unsuspecting men into handing over cash and jewellery.
Her then husband Raja Ali pretended to be her brother or cousin during meetings with their victims and the pair were also involved other fraud offences 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 appeared at Bradford Crown Court for a mention of the case during which Judge Colin Burn was told that Fatima was pregnant and due to give birth in early December.
Her barrister Frida Hussain indicated that the issue at the confiscation hearing appeared to be whether there were any “hidden assets”.
Judge Burn said the hearing, which is expected to last two days, would have to be listed to begin on December 21.
In one of her website profiles Fatima, who moved to the Dewsbury area, described herself as a simple person learning from life and finding herself.
‘’I am looking for someone who knows the meaning of love - someone who can touch my soul,’’ she claimed.
But 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.’’
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.
A court heard when Fatima was arrested at a house in Suffolk Rise, Sheepridge, officers found a Jaguar car on the drive with a Volvo in the garage.
Photographs of the interior of the property showed it was a very comfortable and well laid out house.