London: A Pakistani father-son businessmen duo who cheated people from the Indian sub-continent of nearly 50,000 pounds have been jailed for two years each after pocketing money that was supposed to be transferred to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Siyed Asem, 58, and his son Syed Bukhari, 25, had overstayed their UK visas but ran a shop in Gloucester that promised a money transfer service offering excellent exchange rates to customers sending money to the Indian sub-continent.
Over 20 customers were cheated when they realised that the money handed over to the duo in pounds never reached their destinations.
The two will be deported to Pakistan after completing their sentence, the Daily Mail reported today.
Jailing the two, Judge Jamie Tabor described their offences against their own Asian community as `despicable` and said said it was `extraordinary` that the men had been able to run a shop and set up the money transfer business when they were both illegal overstayers and Asem was bankrupt.
Asem came to the UK on a visitor`s permit eight years ago and never left.
His son was in the UK on a student permit which would not allow him to work or run a business, the report said.
One of their customers, Khadijabbi Mulla, lost 1,000 pounds he requested to be transferred to India to pay for his operation there.
Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy said, "He was told it would take 8 weeks, which would take him close to the date of his operation."
When he got to India he still had not received the promised PIN number to access his money, she said.
He contacted a friend in Gloucester to ask him to complain and the message he got back was that he would get a refund when he got back, she added.
He has never received a refund - as he puts it he has just had lots of excuses and delays.
Hennessy said another victim, Fatima Kazi, paid the two 1,500 pounds to be transferred to India to help fund the building of a mosque in her late father`s memory, but the money never arrived in India, the report added.
Hennessy said all the offences occurred between late 2010 and early 2011 after Bukhari applied in October 2010 to become an agent a money transfer company.
Hennessy told the court the fact that both men were illegal immigrants did not appear to `have come up on the checks`.
Bukhari admitted 11 offences of fraud - of making false representations to customers that his money transfer business was in a sound financial position and that money would be transferred at a preferential rate of exchange.
Asem admitted 12 similar charges.
Sabhia Pathan, defending lawyer, said both men knew they were facing deportation.