On 11 August at Bristol Magistrates Court, Zakir Mohammed Zillul was prosecuted by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for attempting to claim £1,673 in compensation for alleged lost travel documents.
In August last year, Zillul submitted an application to the SIA for a door supervision licence. In support of this application, and to verify his identity, he sent his passport to the SIA.
On Friday 16 September 2016, Zillul contacted the SIA to say that he was due to travel abroad on 21 September and needed his passport to be returned as soon as possible. The SIA returned Zillul’s passport via Royal Mail Special Delivery on 20 September to arrive by 1.00 pm the next day. However, due to a delay involving the Royal Mail, the passport wasn’t delivered on 21 September.
Zillul claimed that, as a result of the late return of his passport, he couldn’t travel as he had arranged.
On 26 September 2016, Zillul contacted the SIA to make a claim for £1,673, which was the cost of his apparent flights. The SIA agreed to consider a compensation or reimbursement claim if Zillul could produce evidence of the missed flights, including proof of payment. This would be reviewed alongside the circumstances of the return of Zillul’s passport.
In October 2016, following a successful application, Zillul was issued with a door supervisor licence.
Evidence of cash withdrawals
Zillul e-mailed the SIA in October 2016 with evidence of the cost of the travel, as well as a document purporting to be an itinerary/invoice from a travel agent showing the alleged cost of the flights. In addition, he provided evidence to the SIA showing cash withdrawals from his bank account which he claimed were made to pay for the holiday.
The SIA believed that the documentation provided was false, so an investigation was carried out by its Criminal Investigation Team. The team discovered that Zillul had not made any such travel booking. Instead, he had asked a travel agent to produce an invoice and itinerary. Zillul used the excuse that he needed to make a claim from his travel insurance company, but had lost the relevant paperwork.
When interviewed, Zillul said that a cousin was responsible for making the claim for compensation in his name. He claimed that this cousin had access to – and online control of – Zillul’s bank account and e-mail, and implied that his cousin was corresponding with the SIA in his name.
Zillul added that his cousin was involved in a relationship with the travel agent who had provided the alleged invoice. The travel agent denied this, and stated that she didn’t know the person named as Zillul’s cousin. She did, however, admit to knowing Zillul, and to falsely producing an invoice itinerary for what she thought was a claim against Zillul’s travel insurance. The travel agent confirmed that no actual travel booking was made by Zillul.
Despite numerous attempts made by the SIA’s investigators to identify Zillul’s cousin, he wasn’t traced, nor did he make himself available for interview.
Fraud by false representation
Zillul pleaded guilty to attempted fraud by false representation, and to having in his possession an article for use in fraud (the e-mail purporting to be from the travel agent to support his claim for compensation).
The presiding Judge at Bristol Magistrates Court duly sentenced Zillul to 210 hours of unpaid community service to be completed within a 12-month period. Zillul was also ordered to pay £2,046.30 prosecution costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Nathan Salmon, the SIA’s investigations manager, said: “Zillul fraudulently tried to obtain compensation of £1,673.00 from the SIA when he clearly had no right to do so. He devised an elaborate plan involving the production and presentation of false documentary evidence to support his claim, using the misguided assistance of another person to facilitate the crime. The SIA robustly regulates the private security industry and will seek to prosecute those individuals who choose to commit criminal offences, either in their individual licence application or when they’re working as a licensed security operative.”