A rogue landlord who exploited over 100 tenants has been jailed. Tahir Khaliq, 49, who ran a chain of letting agency firms from his office in Bury, Greater Manchester accepted holding deposits from multiple prospective tenants for the same same property then claimed they all failed credit checks and kept the cash.
During his trial at Bolton Crown Court, it was revealed that Khaliq also falsified home insurance claims and left many tenants living in squalid properties.
Khaliq is previously know for sharp practice. In 2012 he was the subject of a Channel Five ‘Cowboy Traders’ investigation into one of his firms Lancashire Lettings.
Perhaps his most lucrative scam was deliberately failing credit checks for prospective tenants and pocketing their holding deposits. Khaliq asked prospective tenants who wished to rent one of his properties to pay a holding fee/deposit of £200 to £400 to take a property off the market.
However, unknown to the tenants, money was collected from several other prospective tenants all hoping to rent the same property. Once the money was collected, Khaliq informed them that they had failed credit checks and refused to refund their money. He further instructed his staff to participate in the scam ordering them to accept but never return the holding deposits.
Khaliq also arranged for fake home insurance claims to be submitted with fabricated quotes and invoices with the help of employee Paul Dickinson.
Prosecutor Andrew Thomas told the court the “blatant” insurance scam worked by submitting genuine-looking but inflated quotes from two invented firms.
The prosecutor also revealed that Khaliq used the pseudonym ‘Jack Daniels’ in these transactions in a bid to hide his identity from complainers.
Mr Thomas said: “It was blatant dishonesty. Lies were told to fob off those who wanted their money back.
“Many of the victims were vulnerable people, mainly people on low incomes who were struggling to obtain adequate housing.
“Many of the tenants were on housing benefits and not well off and very often vulnerable because of financial circumstances or other difficulties.”
“Lies were told about two things: who was living in the property and the fabrication of estimates and invoices for repair work.
“Internal emails showed Paul Dickinson was the author of the bogus documents and Mr Khaliq was involved.
“In reality the works were done by their own handymen at a fraction of the cost.”
A third scam also saw Khaliq and Dickinson collect rent for 119 properties they managed on behalf of liquidators Ernst and Young – which a court heard they failed to pass on.
Khaliq also instigated a council tax avoidance scheme perpetrated against Bury and Bolton councils. He also arranged for counterfeit accountant letters to support a £3million Co-op Bank loan application.
Khaliq admitted two counts of making an article for use in fraud, two of conspiracy to commit fraud, one of theft and three counts of fraud. He has now been sentenced to 45 months in prison and has been ordered to pay back £100,000 and pay court costs of £125,000. He was also disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.
During sentencing, Judge Graeme Smith told Khaliq: “You instigated and directed several different fraudulent schemes.
“Though some were directed at institutions such as banks and insurance companies, one of them caused harm to those in a vulnerable position.”
Dickinson, of Leigh, Greater Manchester, admitted theft and six counts of fraud and was given a two year suspended sentence. He was also ordered to pay £24,280 and prosecution costs of £15,000, was disqualified from being a company director for six years and told to complete 240 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Graeme Smith told Dickinson he was suspending his sentence so he could dedicate his spare time to his 10-year-old twin sons – one of whom is seriously ill.
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