Alia Arain, 38 (16.04.81) – a magistrate – of Albert Embankment, SE1 was sentenced to 10 months in prison – suspended for 18 months – for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. She pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court on 29 November 2018. She must carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay a victim surcharge of £140.
Her boyfriend, Ashad Adams, 40 (17.03.79), of Ardoch Road, SE6 was sentenced to a total of three years’ and three months’ imprisonment years for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, converting criminal property, possession of drugs and breaching a suspended sentence. He pleaded guilty on 14 September 2018 at Inner Crown Court on 17 August 2018. He must also pay a victim surcharge of £170.
Adams’ friend Mohammed Shalim Ahmed, 40 (30.04.79), of Cherry Tree Close, Rainham, Essex was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, for money laundering and converting criminal property. He was found guilty of at Inner Crown Court on 15 May 2019, following a trial. He must also carry out 120 hours’ unpaid work.
Arain and Adams planned to go on holiday to celebrate their criminality once they had laundered the money however, just four days later on 24 February, their plan unravelled when police were alerted to their suspicious activities.
Acting Commander Alexis Boon, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, which took on this case unconnected to terrorism owing to the expertise of its National Terrorism Financial Investigation Unit, explained: “The group’s scheme quickly began falling apart when Adams and Ahmed tried to launder a large portion of the cash by changing into Euros at a money exchange bureau in Heathrow Airport. The staff were rightly suspicious and called the police who from that point began unpicking the group’s criminality.”
When officers went to the bureau, police identified that Adams was wanted for having unpaid court fines. Adams asked Ahmed to pay the money off, which Ahmed did with money they had – unbeknown to police at the time – defrauded from Adams’ landlady.
Ahmed, having not been linked to any offences at this point, was free to leave.
However, police officers arrested Adams for fraud, for hiring a car which he drove to the airport, while disqualified.
Police also recovered the landlady’s chequebook and a bank statement of hers from inside the glovebox. Suspicions raised, officers executed a search warrant at Adam’s rented home, finding a second chequebook in the landlady’s name.
They also seized just under £3,000 cash that Adams had on him at the time, under the Proceeds of Crime Act.