Car wash worker jailed after taking tests in Leicester for learner drivers to get them a licence
A fraudster has been able to keep his licence after being jailed for impersonating learner drivers for cash to help them obtain a full driving licence.
Ali Ahmad charged up to £1,000 to sit people's driving and theory tests in Leicester.
The 46-year-old, of Griffiths Close, in Ipswich, pleaded guilty to multiple offences of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud as part of a scam that lasted more than a year.
His day job was as a car wash worker but he illegally earned extra money by moonlighting as a fraudster.
Ahmad was sentenced to 18-months in prison for a total of 14 offences by a judge at Nottingham Crown Court earlier this week. The court heard about a "sophisticated" criminal enterprise he entered into that was run as "effectively a business".
However the fraudster still managed to keep his own driving licence, which was not taken away by the court. In a prosecution was brought by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the court was told Ahmad's crimes were committed in Leicester and in Watnall, Nottinghamshire.
It involved him sitting both the theory and practical driving tests in place of two men with the aim of helping them to obtain full driving licences. In return, he charged a cash payment of between £700 and £1,000 for the service.
Sentencing Ahmad on Tuesday 15 November, Judge Mark Watson told him: "As a result, both of those individuals became full UK driver licence holders - that they became holders of driving licences without themselves having proved their ability."
The court heard that on one occasion, when released from police custody, an officer had asked the father-of-two what happened if he took a test and failed? His reply was: "Like they say, no win, no fee".
Judge Watson said: "This was offending by you over a 12-month period and persisted in that, when you failed one test, you retook it. These are serious offences because they effect the safety of the roads. The checks and balances of the licensing system are necessary to check the minimum standard of knowledge and competency.
"By bypassing those checks, you undermined the protection that affords the public. You did so by not only taking the theory tests but also the practical driving tests as well.
"There are two driving licence holders as a result". On the matter of the defendant's driving status following the offences, the judge added: "You are a driver and you are licensed to drive - I don't make a disqualification order in your case".
Matt Barker, Head of Enforcement Investigations and Counter Fraud at the DVSA, said: "Our priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. Driving and theory tests exist to help ensure people have the correct knowledge, skills and attitude to drive on our roads."
"Circumventing the tests puts lives in danger," he said, before adding: "We have methods in place to detect test fraud and will come down hard on the people involved.
"This includes cancelling test passes that have been gained fraudulently."