Two fraudulent criminals who stole thousands of pounds during their role as solicitors have been ordered to pay back more than £200,000.
Ayaz Siddique, 49, and Deepankar Dixit, 39, used a range of deceptive and co-ordinated tactics to fraudulently steal thousands of pounds whilst working at a solicitor’s office in Newcastle.
The pair funnelled money into a cash account they kept outside the business where Siddique was a Director.
An investigation led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of both Siddique, of Milvain Avenue, Fenham, Newcastle, and Dixit, of Springhill Gardens, Newcastle, in December 2019.
However, officers from the North East Regional Economic Crime Unit (RECU) weren’t satisfied.
RECU were determined that justice to the fullest extent needed to be served and their efforts helped lead to the duo being ordered to pay back a total of £205,000.
Detective Sergeant Thomas Maughan said: “Both Siddique and Dixit showed a blatant disregard for their professional obligations. Each of them acted outside the law and have now lost their status as solicitors.
“This has been months of hard work by an incredibly persistent and committed team of fraud and financial investigators and I want to thank them all for their contributions that have led to this successful outcome at court.
“This investigation shows that jail time isn’t the only form of justice that convicted offenders face. We will also seek to strip them of any assets and financial gain that their criminality has provided them – crime really doesn’t pay.”
Whilst Siddique and Dixit were serving jail time for false accounting, officers from RECU were pulling together a case under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
This looked at their financial activity prior to the offending, assessed the value of their assets and calculated what value each of them had illegally obtained through their criminal activity.
Appearing at Leeds Crown Court last Wednesday and Thursday, as part of Confiscation Orders granted by a judge, the duo were ordered to put their hands in their pockets and pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Failing to adhere to the order could result in them facing a further jail term.
Detective Sergeant Maughan added: “This work is part of our continued efforts under the banner of Operation Sentinel to tackle and disrupt serious and organised crime.
“We are committed to bringing effective justice against any individual who believes themselves to be above the law and who carry out any form of unlawful activity in our communities.”
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The Hairy Biker’s Dave Myers announces he’s battling cancer – and vows to beat illness
The Hairy Biker’s star Dave Myers has sadly revealed he’s battling cancer – but he vows to beat the illness.
The 64-year-old shared the news with his fans today and that he is having chemotherapy.
He stated ‘have not been too well recently’ – before telling the devastating news to followers.
Speaking about the illness with his TV cooking partner Si King, 55 he said: “I maybe a baldy biker for a while… it’s simply something I have to live with.”
“Anyway Kingy, I’ve got to come clean now, I haven’t been too well recently and basically, I’ve got to have some chemo, you know all this anyway, so this year is going to be a bit quiet for me, I’m not going to be filming, some of the festivals I’m not going to be able to go to, some may be okay but this year’s a bit of a write off for us.”
The TV star reassured fans that the prognosis is OK – and that he is going to be fine.
He added: “I have had to speak up about this because I don’t want to hide under a rock, but I would love it if people respected my privacy and just let me get on with it and give Si and our team all the support they need, that would be great. But look, the prognosis is okay, I’m going to be fine.”
Dave concluded: “I’ve just got to tuck in, look after myself, eat sensibly and get over this mess, flog books, and be a happy person so within that, that’s where I am.
In response, Si told his co-star and close pal: “No listen, when I first met you dude you looked like an upside down Hells Angel so I like that look, I’ve always liked that look, you look cool.”
Dave added: “Yeah I know, and under different circumstances I would embrace it more but I feel under these circumstances it’s simply something I have to live with.”
He has chosen not to publicly reveal the type of cancer he has.
Our thoughts are with him and his family at this difficult time.
Contamination scare at Northumbria University
Concerns were raised after ballot papers were thought to have been contaminated at a North East university yesterday afternoon.
Emergency crews were called to the scene at Northumbria University Sports Central on Tuesday (May 3) following reports of concern after what was thought to be a suspicious substance was found in a number of ballot papers. As a precaution, the contaminated papers were recovered and tested.
Numerous ambulance crews attended the incident and thankfully nobody was left needing treatment. Following the tests there were were no suspicious substances found and there was no further action was taken by Northumbria Police
A spokesperson for the Force said: “Northumbria Police received a report of concern after what was thought to be a suspicious substance was found in a number of ballot papers at Northumbria University Sports Central on Tuesday, May 3.
“At around 12.50pm officers and the fire service attended the scene and as a precaution, the contaminated papers were recovered and tested.
“There were no suspicious substances found and there was no further police action.”
A Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) spokesperson said: “We can confirm we attended an incident at Sports Central in Newcastle on Tuesday afternoon. “A number of our specialist assets supported Northumbria Police in identifying a suspicious substance. It was deemed not to be harmful and we left the scene a short time later.”
Where is the ‘Canoe Man’ John Darwin Now?
Two decades after Hartlepool prison officer John Darwin attempted to fake his own death in a canoeing ‘accident’, ITV aired a dramatised version of the bizarre events.
The former prison officer paddled out to sea in a canoe near his family home at Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, before ditching the vessel to give the impression that he drowned. The ‘Canoe Man’ had attempted to disappear in 2002 in order for his wife Anne to claim life insurance money before being caught out in 2007 and jailed for six years for the fraud. After his disappearance in March 2002, a large-scale search involving the scouring of 62 square miles of coastline looked to have confirmed the worst, as only a single paddle and then the wreckage of his kayak was discovered.
For much of Darwin’s missing five years, he had been living in secret in his own home in the seaside resort of Seaton Carew, where he shared a bed with his wife. When family and friends visited and his sons returned from the inquest into his alleged death, Darwin hid in a bedsit next door that was accessed through a passageway hidden behind the door of a fake cupboard.
Darwin later admitted that he would carry out DIY on the front of his family home and even walked around his area disguised as an old man – even as his two now grown-up sons Anthony and Mark continued to grieve for him thinking he was dead. The couple even lied to their own children as they attempted to claim pension, benefits and insurance to clear nearly £700,000 before they were caught.
Just under a year after he disappeared, Darwin turned up at his family home looking ‘an absolute mess’, his wife said.She claimed that she had really believed he was dead before he turned up.
‘Although I was pleased he was still alive, I think deep down a part of me was always angry,’ she said.
‘To think of what he put us all through. He had basically come back expecting me to forgive him.’
She claimed that she wanted to report what he had done but he then threatened to say she had been involved from the start, so she was ‘trapped’. At the inquest into his disappearance in April 2003, Mrs Darwin was able to have her husband declared dead, even though the seven years that is usually needed after someone has gone missing had not yet passed.
The couple eventually decided to leave Seaton Carew and move to Panama City to start a new life together before their secret was exposed by the discovery of an infamous photo of them posing in a Panama real estate office in July 2006. Darwin, stole the identity of a dead baby named John Jones.
The family home was sold and the couple spent several months together in Panama after they had bought a £50,000 two-bed apartment in a suburb of Panama City. They also hoped to open a canoeing centre for eco-tourists.
But Darwin then wanted to return to the UK because, Mrs Darwin said, he missed his sons. He said he would claim to have suffered amnesia.
Knowing there was a viral photograph of them in Panama, Darwin walked into a police station in December 2007 and said he thought he was a ‘missing person’ but said he could not remember anything that had happened in the past five years.
When their two sons were called to the police station to be reunited with their father, the couple had to pretend to be astonished as they too saw each other again.
During their time in prison, the couple divorced with John citing ‘unreasonable behaviour’ as a reason for the split. John moved to Manila and remarried after the divorce to Filipino woman Mercy Mae Avila Darwin, 48.
In 2008, after the scandal made national headlines, John was found guilty on deception charges and jailed for six years and three months. Anne was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail for fraud and money-laundering charges. After her release from prison, Anne Darwin moved to a village near York and was able to get a job with the RSCPA thanks to qualifications she gained in prison.
ITV drama about John and Anne Darwin’s fraud. The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe airs in April.
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