A civil servant from the Black Country and her taxi driver lover who conned the Crown Prosecution Service out of £1 million in a ‘colossal’ expenses fraud were both jailed for six years today.
CPS area manager Lisa Burrows, from Oldbury, and Tahir Mahmood, from Birmingham, raked in £4,000 a week over five years by lodging claims for non-existent taxi journeys.
The pair were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.
Burrows, 42, of Titford Road, Oldbury and Mahmood, 50, of Eastbourne Avenue, Hodge Hill, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud shortly after their arrest in February, 2013
Mr Brian Dean, prosecuting, said Burrows, who worked at CPS offices in Birmingham, began the fraud in 2008 shortly after meeting Mahmood. Burrows, who later got the taxi driver a job as an apprentice with the CPS, submitted bogus invoices for a total of £1,021,475 between early 2008 and February 2013.
Mahmoood, who ‘held the purse strings’ in the fraud, set up a bank account in a false name to receive payments to a fictitious taxi firm.
Mr Dean told the court: “Burrows identified that the CPS spent considerable sums on the provision of taxis. She then decided, along with Mr Mahmood, to exploit that by making false claims for non-existent journeys.”
After their arrest, the fraudsters admitted that the name of their fictitious cab firm, B&M Taxis, stood for Burrows and Mahmood.
Passing sentence, Judge William Davis QC said: “The fact that the fraud involved the CPS and was committed by a senior member of that service – the body responsible for bringing criminals to justice – will have affected and eroded public confidence.”