Three immigration and civil judges are among nine people due to appear in court charged with an alleged £12.6 million bogus legal aid scam.
The charges follow a two-year review by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) into what they called a “big and complex” investigation by a Scotland Yard fraud team.
Part-time immigration judges Kareena Maciel, 46, and Rasib Ghaffar, 48, are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, along with part-time civil judge Razi Shah, the Law Gazette reports.
The others charged are legal clerk Gazi Khan, 49, barrister Shahid Rashid, 57, and solicitors Joseph Ameyaw-Kyeremeh, 67, Azhar Khan, 46, Lloyd Moody, 48, and Samira Bashir, 46.
The group, all residents of London and the Home Counties, are alleged to have committed fraud by false representation or conspiracy to commit an offence of fraud by false representation. The offences have a maximum ten-year jail term.
Of £12.6 million allegedly claimed, £1.4 million was handed out – most of which was fraudulent, police say. The group is due before Westminster magistrates on the 17th of July.
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London’s Met Police commented: “A total of nine people have been charged as part of a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) investigation into a number of alleged fraudulent applications for the reimbursement of private legal costs from public funds.
“The Met’s Complex Fraud Team began an investigation in December 2012 after Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) reported a number of alleged fraudulent applications for legal costs made to the National Taxation Team (NTT).
“The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has authorised charges in respect of four of the claims made between January 2011 and September 2013.”
Maciel and Ghaffar, of South Woodford, Shah, of Windsor in Berkshire, and Ameyaw-Kyeremeh, of Croydon in south London, each face one count of conspiracy to commit an offence of fraud by false representation.
Gazi Khan, of Isleworth, Middlesex, and Rashid, of Langley, face three counts of the same charge.
Azhar Khan, of Pinner, Middlesex, has been charged with one count of fraud by false representation and one count of conspiracy to commit an offence of fraud by false representation.