Amritpal Mehat who stole £400,000 from Droylsden Post Office, Greater Manchester, claimed he had gone mute because of the shame of being caught stealing in a bid to avoid jail. He then kept up this load of cobblers for more than a year and was even sent to a psychiatric hospital by a judge.
But he was sussed out when a doctor wished him ‘good luck’ in Punjabi and he answered ‘thank you’ in his mother tongue.
The businessman, who comes from a wealthy Asian family, was jailed for four years yesterday after being found guilty of conspiracy to steal and theft from a post office.
At a pre-sentencing hearing, a jury unanimously decided Mehat had been guilty of ‘mute by malice’ rather than ‘mute by visitation of God’ after hearing evidence of conversation between the defendant and the medic.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, in Manchester, Mehat who lives in an £800,000 house with his family in Sheffield, South Yorkshire spoke again – this time to confirm his name and his guilty plea.
Judge Bernard Lever told him: “This was a wicked deception. You have had the crown jumping through forensic hoops for two years.
“A large number of experts were called to examine you at vast public expense. I ordered you to hospital for a month where you were unable to maintain your silence, though you had a good go.”
Mehat stole more than £400,000 in cash from the Droylsden Post Office, Tameside, between November 2008 and January 2009 to ‘stave off disaster’ for his family business, which included other Post Office franchises in Denton and Sale.
A loan of almost £1.4m was being called in by a bank and a £2.9m venture to buy a hotel and convert it into a health spa was floundering.
Mehat, who was company secretary of his family’s property development company stole £408,000 by falsifying accounts.
However he used the computer user-name and password of employee Jacqueline Rigby to deflect blame. He was caught after an audit of accounts in early January 2009.
Investigators realised somebody else had used Mrs Rigby’s password and details, but she became so traumatised by the allegations she could no longer face work and left.
Although Mehat drove a high-performance Mini, had a personal number plate AMR 17M, owned an expensive watch and lived in a £800,000 house, the court was told there was little evidence of high living. What sort of standard of living do court officials have then?
Of the money taken, £170,000 was recovered from an Alliance and Leicester account belonging to the family. The court was told there was no suggestion his family knew what was going on. Mehat, of Totley Hall Croft, Sheffield, was earlier ordered to repay a sum of £100,000 to the Post Office within six months.
Talking about foreigners
Four immigration offenders from India are awaiting removal from the UK after they were caught in an operation by UKBA officers on Thursday 5th July.
At around 17:30 on 5th July officers went to Chicken Lane on Firs Lane, Leigh and carried out immigration checks on the staff. Once these checks were made, two men from India, aged 30 and 33, were arrested for overstaying their visas and working in breach of their visa conditions. A third man, a 28 year-old Indian, was also found working illegally, was escorted from the premises and placed on report to us.
Officers also found a 31 year-old Indian woman on the premises, who whilst wasn’t working their illegally, was found to have overstayed her visa. The two men arrested currently remain in immigration detention pending their removal from the UK.
Two illegal immigrants have been caught at restaurants in Warwickshire.
On 13th June UKBA officers paid an unexpected visit to Pizza Delicious, Clifton Road, Rugby.
Staff were questioned and had their immigration status checked. A 19-year-old Pakistani man was arrested after he was found to have overstayed his visa. He was taken into immigration detention pending removal from the UK.
On 22nd June officers visited Janaki Indian restaurant, Main Street, Dickens Heath where they arrested a 20-year-old Indian man who had overstayed his visa. The illegal worker was detained before being removed to India on 3rd July.
Four immigration offenders from Pakistan have been returned to their home country after they were arrested in a raid at a residential address in Chelmsford.
One of the men, a 28-year-old who was working in breach of his visitor’s visa, was removed on Wednesday last week (4th July) and the others, all visa overstayers aged 25, 24 and 22, were removed on 8th July.
They had been arrested when officers from the local immigration team for Suffolk and North-East Essex raided a house in Stansted Close at approximately 07:45 on 26th June.
Two of the men were taken into detention and two were released on immigration bail giving them another chance to work illegally somewhere else.
No wonder the elderly are treated badly in care homes, no one checks whether staff are who they say they are or whether they have any experience looking after the elderly.
A Zimbabwean woman suspected of using a forged passport to obtain employment as a care worker has been arrested.
Sikhumbuzule Sbanda, 38, of St Margaret’s Road, Ward End, Birmingham was arrested at her home on 6th July by UKBA officers. She was charged with identity and fraud offences and appeared at Coventry magistrates court on 7th July.
Sbanda was remanded into custody and will next appear at Coventry crown court on 17th August.
“All homeowners will be forced to pay more for their house insurance to repair flood damage to properties in high-risk areas under government plans.”
Can’t expect much else, the government is not going to let their mates in the insurance business lose money on paying out claims are they?
Talking about flooding, I’m waiting for some idiot boffin to say there will be an increase in trench foot because of the bad weather.
By the way
MPs have been given free corporate tickets to the most sought-after event at the Olympics – the men’s 100m final. Four members of the culture media and sport select committee have accepted the prized seats from BT, one of London 2012’s leading sponsors.