Jail for driving licence fraud duo
TWO people have been jailed and a further eight people convicted for their parts in a £200,000 driving licence fraud.
Three people, described as "facilitators", provided licenses for fees of up to £1000 without the recipient having to take any test.
More than 190 driving tests, both practical and theory, were taken by unknown people in numerous locations around the Midlands and South East of England and the licenses obtained passed onto the paying recipients.
Facilitators Kanakan Rasalingham, of Tirrington, Bretton, Peterborough, and Kuganathan Balasubramanyam, of Eastfield Road, Peterborough,were jailed for two years and eight months and a year and two months respectively at Peterborough Crown Court on Friday (January 11).
Rasalingham's wife Premini Kamalanathan, also of Tirrington, Bretton, was given an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work.
Rasalingham, 35, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering; Balasubramanyam, 43, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and Kamalanathan, 25, pleaded guilty to money laundering.
The court heard the licenses had been obtained for members of the Sri Lankan community, mainly from London and many of whom had been driving for months without any formal driver training or qualification.
The seven further defendants, who received licenses, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. They were all given six month suspended sentences and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £300 costs. All were from outside the county, mainly London.
DC Al Bassam, from the force's Economic Crime Unit (ECU), said: "These convictions are the result of an 18-month investigation by the ECU and I hope they send out a strong message about how seriously this type of offence will be treated.
"The case was referred to us by a private company, Outforce Investigation, which is contracted to the Driving Standards Agency to investigate cases such as these and revoke fraudulently obtained driving licences.
"The facilitators were primarily identified after finding patterns in the use of their bank accounts, telephones and vehicles used in the driving tests.
"Financial investigation carried out by the ECU currently estimates that these facilitators were able to benefit to the tune of £203,000 for arranging and completing these driving tests fraudulently.
"Outforce Investigation are continuing to attempt to revoke the licences of any remaining candidates with fraudulent licences who did not form part of this case."
Proceedings are now due to take place under the Proceeds of Crime Act to assess the criminal benefit the facilitators gained their illegal activity.