August 11, 2011

Driving Test Fraudsters Caught Out.

Two bungling drivers have been jailed for hatching a “ridiculously unsophisticated” plot to get one of them a licence.
Hadi Mohammed, 28, a former Iraqi police officer, had failed his test five times and his friend, Derbas Hamed, a qualified driver, agreed to step in and take the examination for him.
Eyebrows were raised when Hamed, 25, was spotted driving up to the test centre in Gloucester alone. Hamed pretended to be Mohammed and took the test but failed in “spectacular fashion”, making 16 mistakes, Gloucester crown court heard. Staff were suspicious and called the police.
Rosie Walsh, for the prosecution, said: “Mr Mohammed had booked to take his driving test in Gloucester. He had failed the test five times beforehand.”
She said Hamed showed staff his friend’s provisional licence and because they looked similar he was allowed to take the test.
Walsh added: “When the police interviewed Mr Hamed at first he gave his name as Mr Mohammed but when he was arrested he confessed. When Mr Mohammed was also arrested he said he had been too tired to take the test.”
Giles Nelson, in mitigation for Mohammed, said: “My client did not actively commit the deception and played a secondary part.
“It was an extremely unsophisticated fraud, ridiculously unsophisticated and amateurish. He got nowhere near succeeding and is thoroughly ashamed.
“Since coming to this country from Iraq he is desperate to find work and needs a driving licence.”
Lloyd Jenkins, for father-of-two Hamed, said: “My client was candid in interview and has apologised. He drove his friend to Gloucester as a favour and on the way the plan was hatched. There was no money involved.
“My client says that he realised what he was doing was wrong so he deliberately failed the test in a spectacular fashion. He had 16 driving faults.”
The men, who are from Bristol, admitted fraud by false representation. Mohammed was jailed for two months and Hamed, who has a previous conviction for fraud after he impersonated someone else for a driving theory test, was sent to prison for three months.
Recorder Michael De Navarro QC told the men: “This is a very serious offence and had you both been successful a completely unqualified driver and not a very good one at that would have been let loose on the roads.
“This would have meant a danger to other road-users and only a custodial sentence is justified. I do not accept Mr Hamed’s contention that he failed the test deliberately.”

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