A man who was employed in a position of trust within two companies has been jailed after pleading guilty to fraud and money laundering.
Haroon Cassim was employed by Yopa Property Limited, between August 2017 and July 2018 and was responsible for the refurbishment of contact centres in Hinckley and Watford.
Following his resignation from the company and some admissions from 35-year-old Cassim, Yopa carried out an internal investigation which suggested Cassim had set up bogus companies and submitted invoices for work and services that were not provided.
Invoices to the value of more than £500,000 were submitted to Yopa by the bogus companies.
The matter was reported to the police and during the investigation further offences came to light relating to Cassim’s employment at Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, where he worked between August 2009 and February 2014.
The investigation revealed that Cassim had arranged for his wife, Sofina Sarwar, to be placed on the system as an employee and a wage was being paid into a bank account but she never physically worked for the company.
In all of Cassim’s interactions with the HR department he claimed he was her line manager but failed to mention that Sarwar was a relative.
During the investigation another offence of fraud was uncovered, where it was identified that Cassim had set up a bogus company offering call centre services to Camelot.
In order for the due diligence checks to be passed Cassim provided false details for a legitimate company, so the bogus company could be set up on the system as an approved vendor.
Between January 2011 and December 2013 more than £960,000 was paid by Camelot to the bogus company.
It was identified that the money had been paid into accounts owned by Cassim and Sarwar.
Cassim, formerly of Danehurst Avenue, Leicester, was subsequently charged with money laundering and two counts of fraud.
He pleaded guilty to five counts fraud by abuse of position, two counts of converting criminal property and two counts of money laundering at a hearing at Leicester Crown Court in June 2019.
Sarwar, 34, also of the same address, was found guilty of two counts of money laundering after a trial in March this year.
They were both sentenced last Monday (29 June).
Cassim was sentenced to six years and six months in prison for fraud and money laundering.
Sarwar was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.
She was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
Detective Constable Jo Hemmings of the force’s economic crime unit investigated the report.
“We are pleased that Cassim pleaded guilty to his part in these offences, the evidence against him was overwhelming so he had no other choice.
“This was a complex investigation where one report then led to other offences being identified.
“Cassim was a trusted member of the senior management team for both companies, he abused those positions by manipulating the systems for his own gain.
“He had no qualms in enlisting the support of his wife and used her bank accounts for the money he obtained from the fraud.
“Both companies suffered massive financial loss at Cassim’s hands.
“We hope this case sends a clear message to those who believe they can abuse their position for their own financial gain, offences will be uncovered and you will be brought before the courts to answer to your crimes.”