A woman from South Wales in Great Britain has been sentenced to jail after she was discovered that she fraudulentlytook approximately 150 practical and theory driving tests for people across England and Wales who had difficulty speaking English.
Inderjeet Kaur, from the town of Llanelli, began taking the tests in 2018 and continued the fraudulent activity until 2020, travelling to the places such as Swansea, Carmarthen, Birmingham and London.
Nevertheless, staff at test centres soon became suspicious of the returning face, and following a referral from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), an investigation was launched into the matter.
The investigation, carried out by Tarian – the regional organised crime team for southern Wales – discovered that the 29-year-old woman had started the service in a bid to attract test applicants who struggled to speak English.
In return, Ms Kaur charged applicants a fee of £700 for theory tests and £800 for practical exams.
On Thursday 7 July 2022, Ms Kaur faced Swansea Crown Court for her offences where she pleaded guilty.
In a prepared statement, she admitted to carrying out the fraudulent conduct, along with charging her driving candidates the whopping fees – many of whom had previously failed their tests.
The woman was sentenced to eight months in prison, four of which she will spend behind bars.
THE THREE COMPONENTS OF MS KAUR'S WRONGDOING THAT DETERMINED HER SENTENCE…
In handing down Ms Kaur's jail time, Judge Huw Rees noted three key elements that informed the sentence.
“In my judgement this case has three strands. The first is the number of occasions you impersonated people between October 2019 and September 2020,” Judge Rees stated.
“Another is the extensive locations across Wales and England that you did this.
“And third is the many applicants you impersonated who had a poor grasp of English and had previously failed their driving tests.”
Judge Rees continued to advise that as a result of Ms Kaur's fraudulent activity, the roads now had increased incompetent drivers.
“The result is that your offending means there are a large number of unqualified drivers on roads in this country,” he said.
“This is an undoubtedly serious and disturbing case.”
Judge Rees' response was one echoed by Detective Chief Inspector Steven Maloney, who said the crimes committed by Ms Kaur were done so out of greed.
“The crimes Kaur committed circumvent the driving test process and in turn puts innocent road users at risk, by allowing unskilled and dangerous motorists to have seemingly legitimate licences,” Detective Chief Inspector Maloney said.
“Safety on our roads has always been a priority and arresting those that flaunt the law ensures that we can keep unqualified drivers off the road.
“By working with the DVSA, this complex criminal investigation highlighted the extent of Kaur's offending which was purely out of greed. Kaur's offending has now been halted, and she has now been brought to justice, and we today welcome the sentence imposed by the courts.
“Frauds such as these pose significant risks to the general public and I urge any members of the public with information on such crimes to report them to the police or even anonymously via crime stoppers.”
Head of regulatory services and transformation at the DVSA, Caroline Hicks, also addressed the crime, emphasising the organisation's priority to protect citizens.
“DVSA's priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles,” Ms Hicks said.
“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, we have methods in place to detect test fraud and will come down hard on the people involved.”
FRAUDULENT OFFENCES IN NSW LAWS
Under the law, the offence of fraud – which you may have also heard termed as “obtaining benefit by deception and dishonesty” – takes place where the offender engages in deception and dishonest conduct leading to property or a financial advantage being obtained for themselves or another person, or a financial disadvantage caused to another person.
In addition, a person's obtaining of property belonging to another is also considered dishonest even if the person is willing to pay for the property.
In NSW, the penalties for fraud can be found in section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900.
Section 192E prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail where a person is found guilty of fraud.
“Deception” – as per section 192B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) – is defined as any deception by words or other conduct, as to fact or as to law, including a deception as to the intentions of the person using the deception or any other person.
Within this definition is also conduct by a person that causes a computer, a machine or any electronic device to make a response that the person is not authorised to cause it to make.
The term “dishonesty” refers to being dishonest in line with the standards of ordinary people and known by the defendant to be dishonest in line with the standards of ordinary people.
To be found guilty of a fraud offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the person's conduct included “deception” (of which dishonesty may be inherent) and that a benefit or financial advantage was obtained.