- Video report by ITV News Central reporter Chris Halpin
A fraudster from Birmingham involved in a nationwide speeding ticket scam has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Ramesh Jhalli, from Hodge Hill, helped dishonest drivers avoid fines and points on their licence, described by West Midlands Police Camera Enforcement say as one of the largest investigations of this type they’ve dealt with.
Through word of mouth and social media, the 39-year-old would get five middlemen he recruited to collect speeding tickets. For up to £200 a time - he would make the points and fines disappear,
Jhalli would fill them out saying another person was driving, using a fake name and date of birth.
He claimed his imaginary drivers lived at one of eight addresses across the West Midlands - mainly multi-occupancy properties with communal entrances - and when penalty notices landed in the post he collected them and returned them "not known at this address".
Police launched an enquiry after spotting certain addresses repeatedly being cited as the homes of offenders.
Flats in Hope Street and Holdgate Road, Birmingham, and Lime Grove in Smethwick were collectively cited 59 times within a matter of months on official Notice of Intended prosecution (NIP) forms.
Officers noticed handwriting similarities on the submitted forms, while checks with the DVLA showed signatures on the NIPs bore no resemblance to those kept on Authority systems for the registered keepers of the speeding vehicles.
Dates of birth given for the registered keepers were also wrong on all but one of the forms.
Crucially, the only correct birth date was found on a prosecution sent to Jhalli himself after he was caught speeding in a Ford Transit van on 10 November 2013 on the M6 motorway.
A forensic document examiner found strong links between handwriting on the NIPs and Birmingham City Council benefits applications completed by unemployed Jhalli.
Jhalli pleaded guilty on one count of perverting the course of justice in December 2015, admitting his involvement of fraud on 10 speeding tickets forensic examiners had linked his handwriting to.
Entering his plea he said he’d been forced to enter into the conspiracy by an organised group, after damaging a car belonging to one of the gang which was being worked on by Jhalli’s car window tinting business. He said he was forced to take part in the scam in order to pay for the damage done to the vehicle.
Passing sentence today Judge Mary Stacey stressed the seriousness of Jhalli’s crime, describing how he recruited five middlemen into the scheme as a form of pyramid selling, to “expand the base and depth of the fraud involved”.
Judge Stacey said the speeding ticket scam to get guilty drivers off their crimes was dishonesty that “strikes at the heart of the fairness of the justice system”.