Bradford regeneration chief jailed for £25,000 fraud

Bradford: Library picture

Bradford: Library picture

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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 position as assistant executive officer with Bradford Trident to steal almost £25,000 over 14 months.

The 36-year-old, on £42,000 salary, fabricated invoices and pressured contractors, and even a co-worker, to help him use the money for his personal needs.

Prosecutor Andrew Dallas told Bradford Crown Court how Khan - part of Bradford Trident since its inception in 2000 - billed the organisation for decorating work at his own properties and 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 to the seaside and again to take his family around at his brother’s wedding.

The court heard 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.

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

When Khan, of Parkside Road, West Bowling, was confronted he apologised and blamed financial difficulties.

Khan offered to repay the money in instalments and even asked for a reference. The court heard he had repaid over £9,000.

“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 yesterday his barrister Nick Worsley described him as “a broken man”.

Mr Worsley submitted references in support of Khan’s good work in his community and said his client would have repaid all the money had his assets not been restrained.

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

But Judge Benson said jail was inevitable, saying: “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 wealthy man.

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

Khan will serve around half the jail term and faces a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing to recover the rest of the money.

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