Finance director, 42, who stole £600,000 from her employer to earn the love of romance fraudster promising her marriage is jailed for 30 months
- Ilyiea Ali, 42, of Birmingham, siphoned more than £600,000 from her employer
- She paid more than £300,000 to ‘romance fraudster’ Tahmoor Khan
- Khan duped Ali and other victims by posing as a businessman on a dating site
- Ali pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to 30 years in prison yesterday
A finance director has been jailed after she admitted to stealing £600,000 from her employer to earn the love of a ‘romance fraudster’ with gambling debts.
Ilyiea Ali, 42, of Birmingham, siphoned money from Information Security Forum Ltd (ISF) after she was seduced by Tahmoor Khan, who posed as a businessman who needed money to help keep his company afloat.
In reality he used the money to pay off extensive gambling debts.
Bradford Crown Court heard Khan, who was known to Ali as Sohail Hussain, mentioned the possibility of a relationship and marriage alongside messages ‘requesting and demanding’ payments.
Khan, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in October 2016 after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.
Ilyiea Ali, 42, of Birmingham, left, siphoned money from her employer she was seduced by Tahmoor Khan, right who posed as a businessman on a dating website
The court heard how he conned a number of victims, including Ali, out of a total of £500,000 by posing as a successful businessman on a dating website.
Ali previously pleaded guilty to a charge of theft and was sentenced to 30 months in prison yesterday.
Between March 2015 and April 2016 Ali took £610,144 from ISF, described as the ‘world’s leading authority on cyber, information security and risk management’, where she was responsible for identifying ‘financial anomalies’.
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At least £319,000 was paid to Khan and a further £191,000 went to family members to whom Ali owed money. Even after police began their investigations, Ali stole a further £75,000, with some of the money used to pay for a holiday in Dubai.
Most of the money was taken from a US-based City Bank account, which was used for payroll purposes.
A court heard that Khan amassed debts of £80,000 at casinos and set about repaying them by targeting victims on a dating website.
Bradford Crown Court, pictured, heard Khan mentioned the possibility of a relationship and marriage alongside messages ‘requesting and demanding’ payments
Posing as a businessman, would persuade them to hand over money under the pretense that he would marry them and promised to pay them back.
The court heard during a previous hearing that while Khan’s other victims appeared to have lent him their own money, Ali also used funds belonging to her employer.
Prosecutor Tom Storey said Ali had started working for ISF in 2010, progressing to an annual wage of more than £68,000.
He said that in 2016 police investigating Khan’s bank accounts discovered a number of transactions in Ali’s name.
Ali later admitted she had paid money into Khan’s accounts, but said she knew him as Sohail Hussain, who had told her he needed help to keep his car business afloat.
Despite that, Mr Storey said: ‘The crown concede she (Ali) was not living a lavish lifestyle’, adding that ‘it was clear her own financial position was in a parlous state.’
WhatsApp messages between Ali and Khan revealed he would ‘request and demand’ money from the defendant, with mentions of a relationship and marriage between the pair.
In a statement, the managing director of ISF said that the money stolen represented a ‘large loss’ to the not-for-profit organisation, representing 7.4 per cent of its annual turnover.
Mr Storey said: ‘The reason the money was not accounted for was because she (Ali) was the person responsible for identifying financial anomalies.’
Lisa Wilson, mitigating, said her client had suffered an ‘extremely troubling’ life affected by different types of abuse, leading to her suffering from chronic depression.
She argued that Ali had been given an ‘inappropriate degree of trust’ by ISF, as the organisation was aware she was in fact a qualified accountant.
She added that the defendant had hoped to be able to pay ISF back before the US account she stole from was audited.
Miss Wilson said: ‘Having lost everything of her own she found herself giving in to temptation and committing this offence. She did want to pay them back. She herself was a victim, that is what lay behind the offending.’
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said that Ali, who he described as having a ‘chaotic financial history’, had managed to circumvent the checks and balances put in place by ISF to prevent fraud.
He told Ali: ‘It would be nice if your advocate could say that all the money went to the fraudster Khan. It’s quite right to say that set against your appallingly unhappy history that you were ripe for fraud. The problem is, that was only about half the money you took.
‘It seems to me that the scale of this demands that I send a message, however heavy the heart, that while we understand you have been used, you were preying on your company to gain amounts most of us can only dream of in cash.
‘The least sentence I can impose on you is one of 30 months. People have to learn, have to know, have to think, that if they want to do this then there will be very serious consequences.’
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