A rogue Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) training provider, operating from Harrow, has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
It was revealed that between February 2018 and 21 February 2020, Usman Qureshi, 39, had conned people out of more than £63,000 and has now been handed 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months.
Mr Qureshi, of Rickmansworth, was also disqualified from being a director for five years.
The sentencing took place at Harrow Crown Court on Friday 24 June, after he was found guilty of misleading consumers under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act.
Mr Qureshi must also pay a total of £10,500 towards prosecution costs and £17,500 in compensation.
A director of two companies, Mayfair Search Group Limited and UK GRP Services Limited, both trading as New Wave Driving School, Mr Qureshi promised to offer training services to get HGV training, but failed to deliver.
The website claimed it would take a few months to complete and provided locations and availability, however, it quickly became apparent that it was far from the truth. Large payments of up to £4500 were taken, with victims encouraged to sign up to credit agreements for training that was never delivered.
Brent and Harrow Trading Standards, supported by National Trading Standards (NTS), investigated 23 complaints from across the country relating to the business based at College Road, Harrow.
The total loss to those consumers was £63,293. Statements from two finance providers who had terminated their agreements to lend to New Wave Driving School customers following numerous consumer complaints said they had payback adding up to a total of £281,000.
Cllr Anjana Patel, Harrow Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety said: “Qureshi was only interested in lining his own pocket by taking advantage of his victims who needed training to help them with employment prospects.
“It’s a good job our trading standards officers are here to protect consumers, and I’d like to thank our team for the work put in to bring an end to this nation-wide scam. We’ll do the same to anyone else who thinks they are above the law and operate unlawfully.”
Trish Burls, Chair of the National Trading Standards Tri Regional Investigation Team, said: “This investigation highlights the value and success of partnership working between a local authority and our national and regional trading standards teams.
“Our NTS Regional Investigation Team were able to provide valuable additional investigational and evidence gathering support to Brent Trading Standards to pull together this complex investigation.
“This allowed the full facts of the offences to be presented and considered in court, sending a clear message that fraudulent activities will not be tolerated.”
Source: Harrow Council