Bradford regeneration boss jailed for 12 months over fraud

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A “greedy” officer who defrauded a government-backed regeneration body has been jailed for 12 months.

Father-of-four Zubare Khan used his trusted position as assistant executive officer with Bradford Trident to steal almost £25,000 over a 14-month period.

The 36-year-old, who was earning £42,000 a year, fabricated invoices and pressured contractors, and even one of his co-workers, to help him use the money for his own personal needs.

Prosecutor Andrew Dallas told Bradford Crown Court today (fri) how Khan, who had been part of Bradford Trident since its inception in 2000, billed the organisation for decorating work done at his own properties in the city and even got the body to pay for his family’s use of a scout group minibus.

Mr Dallas said the vehicle had in fact been used to take Khan’s family members to the seaside and an amusement arcade and it was hired again by him to take his family around at the time of his brother’s wedding.

He said Bradford Trident had originally been financed by the government’s New Deal for Communities initiative with the objective of regenerating the West Bowling and Marshfields areas of the city.

Khan, who had no previous convictions, was responsible for buildings maintenance, but he was suspended from his post in December 2011 after the chief executive officer discovered a pattern of fabricated or altered invoices.

When Khan, of Parkside Road, West Bowling, was confronted about the invoices he apologised for his behaviour and blamed financial difficulties.

Mr Dallas said Khan offered to repay the money in instalments and even asked for a reference.

In total Khan defrauded the organisation out of £24,574.11, but the court heard that he had repaid just over £9000.

“The Crown submit this was a continuing fraud that the chief executive stopped rather than fraud that stopped of its own accord,” said Mr Dallas.

Khan pleaded guilty to the fraud charge last October and today his barrister Nick Worsley described him as “a broken man”.

Mr Worsley submitted numerous references in support of Khan’s positive good work in his community and said his client would have repaid all the money had his assets not been restrained as part of the long-running investigation.

He conceded that Khan had been in a high profile position, but he urged Judge Peter Benson to consider suspending any prison sentence.

But Judge Benson said an immediate prison sentence was inevitable bearing in mind the aggravating features of the case.

The judge noted that Khan was being well paid at the time and added:”This was systematic, sophisticated offending which was quite deliberate and calculated and involved the corruption of others.”

Judge Benson said Khan had put a junior work colleague in a very difficult position in relation to the scout minibus because he had used it for his “own personal indulgence” and he had also corrupted contractors by getting them to inflate invoices.

The judge said Khan was already a prosperous and wealthy man, but he had wanted to enhance his already high status in the community.

“You got greedy, to put it bluntly, and you went about a sophisticated fraud to satisfy that greed,” the judge told Khan.

Khan will serve approximately half of the 12-month jail term and he faces a further hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act later this year to try and reclaim the outstanding money.