Heavily pregnant Wembley woman spared jail for £1m chip and pin scam
- Credit: Jamie Lorriman/Central News
A heavily pregnant woman from Wembley who was involved in a £1million ‘chip and pin’ scam has been spared jail.
Avni Brahmbhatt, 33, of Oakington Manor Drive, Zahid Imran, 50, of Harrow Road, also in Wembley, and three others, used the machines to process card payments for bogus businesses, including Platinum Enterprises, Zara Enterprises and Colliers Food and Wine.
They then applied for refunds from credit companies when goods were not delivered.
Brahmbhatt, who is eightmonths pregnant, was given an eight month sentence suspended for two years having only made one fraudulent claim; while Imran received two years.
Judge Anthony Pitts said: “She didn’t strike me as someone who one would expect to get involved in any way in this sort of dishonesty.”
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The two, alongside Yashraj Champaneri, 40, of Staines, Raja Iqbal, 36, and Ritesh Gupta 34, from Hounslow, were jailed a for a total of 10 years and a half years after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.
Judge Anthony Pitts said the main victims were the banks who supply cards and card accounts to customers.
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He added that the gang had tried to defraud the banks of at least £962,865, although not all of their individual claims were successful.
The fraud was supported by an elaborate money laundering scheme, the Old Bailey heard today.
Another man, Mehul Shah, 35, of Hounslow, west London, was also convicted of conspiracy to defraud and will face sentence later pending the preparation of psychiatric reports.
The gang will face a further hearing under the proceeds of crime act on 1 May 2015.