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Spiritualist faith healer and mortgage fraud gang ordered to repay £4.3m

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  • 03/07/2017
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Spiritualist faith healer and mortgage fraud gang ordered to repay £4.3m
A self-proclaimed spiritualist faith healer and his mortgage fraud gang who used donations from followers to set up a portfolio of 41 buy-to-let properties have been ordered to repay £4.3m.

Mehboob Akhtar, also known as Saint Pir Pandariman, 61, ran the Muslim charity the Darbar Unique Centre, in Stoke on Trent.

Akhtar was sentenced to 14 years in jail in April last year. His wife Kadija Akhtar, also part of the fraud, received a prison sentence. He was convicted of cheating HMRC out of tax owed, and eight counts of conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud and committing mortgage fraud.

The cleric operated with nine other family members and business associates, who were all found guilty of lying to mortgage lenders to buy property in the Fenton area.

Akhtar and his wife Khajida both exaggerated their income on mortgage applications.

The Birmingham Mail reported how it was initially thought the total benefit of the fraud was £4.4m, however, after a proceeds of crime investigation, Birmingham Crown Court heard the gang made away with close to £15.6m.

The court heard how the sums the gang were ordered to repay, were based on the funds they were found to have available.

Akhtar benefited from  fraud worth £5.5m and was ordered to pay back £1,863,504.

The mastermind used the names of his wife, daughter and niece to apply for mortgages from 2005 to 2014.

In 2012, police uncovered forged documents and emails relating to the conspiracy at Akhtar’s home.

When sentencing him last April, Judge Stephen Eyre QC said: “(You used) the prestige and devotion of others to facilitate this offending.”

His sentence has been reduced to 11 years by the Court of Appeal in London.

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