Property and web fraudster jailed for 11 years
A man who pleaded guilty to creating a fake business directory and making bogus property deals has been jailed for 11 years.
Mohammed Ahmed, formerly of Deansgate, Manchester was sentenced for the frauds at Leeds Crown Court after changing his plea.
The court heard the 33-year-old had persuaded people to invest in property and, in some cases, had kept the money.
He spent some of the money on Ferraris and a executive box at Manchester City.
The investigation was carried out by the newly established National Trading Standards eCrime Centre (NTSeCC), based in North Yorkshire.
The centre became involved after complaints from businesses who had bought space on Ahmed's We Do Trades website.
According to the NTSeCC, the traders had been sold advertising space on the website following false claims by representatives about how much "guaranteed" business would be forthcoming upon payment of a fee.
A NTSeCC spokesman said the traders had "paid between £75 and several thousands of pounds and were locked into long-term contracts".
"Few, if any, meaningful jobs were ever delivered."
During the investigation of the website, the property fraud was uncovered.
The spokesman said that in some cases, Ahmed had "falsely exaggerated the value of those properties and in other cases, no property was purchased at all".
"One charge related to Ahmed fraudulently claiming he had the backing to obtain a £10.5m stake in the Beetham Tower, the tallest building in Manchester."
Sentencing Ahmed for this case and for an earlier conviction for mortgage fraud Judge Bayliss said: "Despite a relatively young age you are an inveterate and incorrigible confidence trickster, a consummate and practiced liar. "