Fraudster Zahid Khan fled the country days before being convicted of a £500,000 personalised number plate scam – targeting a £148million lottery winner.
The Ferrari-loving conman has been jailed for ten years in his absence after an extraordinary trial saw his own barrister resign because of his antics – including pretending to have lost his memory.
Jurors heard the number plate plot involved his brothers Aamir Khan and Ayan Ahmed, plus cousin Zubair Ahmad.
One target was Scottish lottery winner Gillian Bayford, who scooped a £148 million jackpot in August 2012.
Birmingham Crown Court heard Khan, 32, lived a playboy lifestyle and may have married up to three different women in Muslim ceremonies, as well as having numerous affairs.
But as the case was coming to a close in June the fraudster fled the UK after being granted bail by the judge. His passport was not confiscated.
He is now a wanted fugitive after being sentenced to ten years for the fraud.
Zahid Khan and brother Aamir have also both received additional 30-month sentences for smuggling illegal immigrants into the UK.
Hours after fleeing the country in June, serial criminal Khan posted a video on his Facebook page to the judge saying: “Sorry, I had no choice.”
A retrial was ordered after a jury initially failed to reach a verdict on his family co-defendants – Aamir Khan, Ayan Ahmed and Zubair Ahmad.
They were all found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison on Friday.
Zahid Khan had also lied on four separate car insurance policies – failing to disclose his criminal convictions, licence points and CCJ’s against him – in order to obtain cheaper cover.
Detective Constable Rob Piper, from West Midlands Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said police realised Khan may have absconded when he did not turn up for court as the original trial was coming to an end in June.
“We conducted some enquiries and discovered that he had left the country,” he said.
The officer added: “Khan has an absolutely huge ego and believes he can treat anyone as he wishes.”
Khan had publicly pretended to be a caring and wealthy businessman who donated to the homeless and refugees.
In reality he was a serial criminal who enjoyed fast cars, speedboats, race horses – and ‘marrying’ up to three women.
He had also posed for pictures with rappers and boxers, including Floyd Mayweather when the Us champion visited the UK.
Yet he was living a lie.
A Ferrari he claimed was worth £250,000 was actually a former write-off and was unroadworthy. It was seized and crushed by police.
And smooth-talking Khan’s greed and arrogance was the undoing of him and his family gang.
He tried to mastermind the £500,000 fraud by registering five existing personalised number plates with the DVLA under his own name and those of relatives – to then sell them on.
One of the victims targeted was lottery winner Gillian Bayford, who divorced husband Adrian 15 months after their Euromillions win.
She was targeted for her personalised number plate 8G, while another victim’s plate – C1 – was worth £250,000.
Khan, from Yardley Wood Road in Moseley, had initially sold one ‘stolen’ personalised registration plate – 2K – for £85,000.
But his downfall began when he tried to sell the 8G plate to a Black Country firm. They called in police after they had contacted Gillian about her potentially buying 8G – only to be told it was already adorning a car on her driveway.
Detectives began a painstaking investigation and they uncovered evidence which smashed the elaborate plot.
They discovered that Khan ‘pressured’ an Audi salesman into handing over confidential car buyer details, including home addresses and crucial chassis numbers. Officers called in handwriting experts to prove the crooked DVLA forms were filled in by dad-of-three Khan, while voice analysts identified him as making calls to the DVLA.
Det Con Piper, who brought the gang to justice, said: “Zahid Khan was the one skilled in this fraud. He had identified this fraud through his criminal brain and his heavy involvement in the criminal industry and then enlisted the help of his two brothers and cousin.
“All of the defendants refused to provide handwriting samples. But we obtained Zahid Khan’s passport application and found that forged documents were all completed by the same person – and they matched the handwriting on his passport application.”
Khan, who also went by the alias Adam Hussain, had pressured the Audi salesman – from whom he’d previously bought a vehicle – to harvest details on drivers with valuable plates.
He then contacted DVLA purporting to be the rightful owner, claiming to have lost the log book and reporting an address change.
And when Khan returned the new log book, sent out in the genuine owner’s name but to his home address, he was able to claim ownership of the plates by naming himself or one of his co-conspirators as the ‘grantee’ on V778 retention documents.
During the investigation West Midlands Police also uncovered evidence linking him to six stolen cars being run on false plates.
In December 2014 he was caught behind the wheel of a VW Golf bearing cloned plates and the following February a Vauxhall van he’d bought was found displaying VRMs, suggesting it was two years younger than its manufacture date.
The following December, 25-year-old Aamir Khan tried selling two Audi A3s and a Range Rover Evoque on behalf of his older brother – but the auction house refused to offer him sale lots and reported their suspicions over the vehicles’ identities to police.
Their fears were confirmed when officers found all three were sporting bogus number plates and police also discovered that, in May 2016, Aamir Khan swapped another stolen Evoque at a Birmingham car yard for an Audi A8 before Zahid sold it on the following day.
Khan and his brother Aamir tried covering their tracks by manufacturing a series of text messages between themselves that they sent to a supposed rogue car dealer, called Paul Plates, after buying a dummy phone.
Det Con Piper said: “This number was saved in Zahid and Aamir’s phones under the name Paul Plates.
“We believe and our case is that those messages were created to act as a diversion for as and when the police come knocking on their door.”
“Zahid Khan portrayed the image of a legitimate businessman and a multi-millionaire…but in reality he is a career criminal and a con artist.”
Khan later also claimed to police he had been sold the personalised plates by an old school friend, who was entirely innocent.
But when asked to provide contact details he said they had been lost in a mystery arson attack at his Bulls and Horses car business in Stratford Road, Sparkhill, in February 2016.
No-one has ever been caught for the alleged arson attack – despite Khan offering a £25,000 reward at the time after blaming the fire on ‘jealous rivals’.
Det Con Piper said: “Zahid Khan portrayed the image of a legitimate businessman and a multi-millionaire…but in reality he is a career criminal and a con artist.
“He and his family and associates clearly thought they had identified a scheme that could make them significant sums of money: the five VRMs they had stolen the rights for had a combined value of half a million pounds.
“However, we uncovered the scam and he has rightly now been convicted for leading this criminal gang.”
DEFENDANTS AND SENTENCES:
*Zahid Khan, 32, was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud, perverting the course of justice, plus concealing and converting criminal property. He also admitted three counts of fraudulently obtaining car insurance and was convicted on a fourth count he’d denied. Jailed for ten years.
*Aamir Khan, 25, from Shutlock Lane in Moseley: Guilty of conspiracy to defraud, perverting the course of justice, plus concealing and converting criminal property. He was jailed for a total of four-and-a-half years, plus an additional 30 months for the immigration offence.
*Ayan Ahmed, 39, from Mickleton Road, Solihull, convicted of conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to three years jail.
*Zubair Ahmad, 32, from Springcroft Road, Tyseley, convicted of conspiracy to defraud. Sentenced to two years eight months.
*Kaesar Ali, 28, from Clarence Road, Sparkhill, convicted of conspiracy to dishonestly make false representation ad jailed for six months. Currently serving 10-year four month jail sentence for causing death by dangerous driving and money laundering,