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Married couple jailed for falsifying documents to re-coup £60,000 lost in failed investment in Newcastle takeaway
25 Feb | 09:34

A married couple have been jailed after falsifying documents in a bid to re-coup £60,000 from the owner of a Newcastle takeaway following a dispute over wages.

Madasser Hussain, 44, and Agha Rashid, 46, are today behind bars after the dispute with the owner of the Spice of Punjab takeaway near to the Centre of Life in the city centre.

A court was told how property lawyer Hussain had invested £60,000 into the takeaway in 2002 at which point her husband took on a position working behind the counter.

But in 2008, the takeaway manager realised that Rashid had mistakenly been overpaid during the time of his employment.

The couple refused to pay back the money and instead claimed that Rashid's wages must be honoured, due to the length of time that had elapsed.

However, the manager did not agree to this and instead dissolved the business partnership with Mrs Hussain as the overpaid salary was around the same amount as her original investment into the takeaway.

In a bid to protect her investment, the solicitor later forged a Land Registry document to lodge a charge of £60,000 on a residential property in Heaton belonging to the new takeaway owner.

It meant that, when the takeaway owner tried to sell the residential property in January 2014, the sale was blocked and both parties were left at a standstill.

When Hussain was confronted about the charge, she refused to lift it, hoping this would force the takeaway owner to pay back the £60,000 investment.

However, the police were called and specialist detectives from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) launched an investigation.

They later uncovered the forged Land Registry paperwork as well as a string of legal documentation that Hussain had also forged in a bid to cover their tracks.

Both were charged by detectives with fraud by false representation and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Hussain was found guilty following a re-trial at Teesside Crown Court in January while Rashid had previously been convicted Newcastle Crown Court in June.

And on Friday (February 25) Hussain and Rashid, both of Fowberry Crescent, Fenham, were jailed for three years and eight months and three years and three months respectively.

Following the case, investigating officer Detective Constable Steve Brown said that the fraud was motivated by "desperation and greed".

DC Brown, who works in the North East Regional Cyber Crime Unit, said: "This was a complex fraud investigation that has taken almost five years to resolve.

"It was a crime that was motivated by desperation and greed after this married couple lost out on their investment in this business.

"Rather than accept that their money was gone, they instead resorted to criminal means to try and extort money from the takeaway owner.

"Their poor decision making has instead landed them behind bars and I am satisfied this is a fitting sentence for their crime.

"Anyone who thinks they can forge documents for their own financial gain, especially professional enablers such as solicitors, should take a look at this case and realise that they won't get away with it.

"NERSOU is dedicated to investigating serious and organised crime and will always look to put offenders before a court."

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