A WOMAN who stole over £600,000 from her employer after being targeted by an online ‘romance fraudster’ has been jailed.
Ilyiea Ali, 42, fell victim to Tahmoor Khan, 33, after he conned his victims out of large sums of money by posing as a successful businessman — despite running up thousands of pounds in gambling debts.
Due to her own chaotic financial position, she was tempted to start stealing from the not-for-profit International Security Forum Limited where she had been employed as their £68,000-a-year head of finance, the court heard.
Ali, who had no accounting qualifications, managed to get round the organisation’s procedures and stole just over £610,000 between March 2015 and April 2016, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Tom Storey revealed that Ali had continued to steal money from the organisation even after the police contacted her about payments she had made into Khan’s account.
He said WhatsApp messages between them referred to ‘marriage’ and their on-going relationship and also included requests and demands from Khan for money.
The police inquiry revealed that just under £320,000 of the stolen money had been transferred to Khan and his associates, but Mr Storey said the total figure was likely to have been higher.
Tahmoor Khan, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in October 2016.
It was indicated that a further £191,000 had been paid over by Ali to ‘family members’ who she already owed money to.
Although Ali had spent some of the stolen money on a holiday to Dubai, Mr Storey conceded that there was no evidence of her living a lavish lifestyle.
Mr Storey said ISF Ltd had been unaware of Ali’s offending because she was the person who was supposed to identify any anomalies and bring them to her employer’s attention.
Ali, from Birmingham, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to the theft charge and today the Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC jailed her for 30 months.
The judge said Ali’s own unhappy history made her ‘ripe for fraud’ by Khan, but he said she had been preying on her company by using her skills to obtain amounts of cash that most people could only dream of.