Fraudster who conned 86-year-old out of £1800 by posing as a taxman dodges jail

A scumbag fraudster who conned an 86-year-old man out of £1800 by pretending to be a tax collector gleefully boasted about dodging jail after leaving court.

Mohammed Baig tricked the vulnerable pensioner into handing over the cash after leaving the victim “panicked” that he owed outstanding taxes.

The 23-year-old appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday and was given 225 hours of unpaid work and supervision.

Moments after leaving the dock, shameless Baig held aloft a small suitcase he’d packed for prison.

Grinning smugly, Baig bragged to observers right outside the courtroom, “No jail, no jail”.

His co-accused Abdul Sajjad also escaped a prison term for dragging two police constables alongside his car when he tried to flee them.

Outside court, Sajjad showed little repentance at receiving 225 hours of unpaid work along with a ten-year driving ban. Baig reacted in shock and commiserated with Sajjad over receiving a decade-long ban.

Together, the laughing pair roared off from outside the court building in a flash car, shouting abuse at people on the street.

Sentencing Baig, Sheriff Kenneth Campbell QC branded his crime “despicable” but said he was taking into account the conman’s age and relative lack of record.

When Baig pled guilty last month, the court heard how he convinced the elderly victim to withdraw the money from his bank account after calling his home in Edinburgh’s Mountcastle area.

Fiscal depute Anna Robertson said Baig, who told the pensioner his name was ‘Jason’, claimed the man owed £1800 in unpaid taxes and gave various reasons why the sum was outstanding.

The prosecutor said the victim was “panicked and concerned”.

Baig told him that he’d call at his home, give a personal code, and the victim should hand over the funds in a white envelope.

The money was collected but workers at Clydesdale Bank noticed the withdrawal and called police due to their customer’s “age and vulnerability”, the court heard.

Baig, of Birmingham, admitted carrying out the fraud by pretending to be a “lawful collector of taxes” on September 25 2019.

Sajjad, 23, previously pled guilty to hitting an officer with the vehicle to her injury while attempting to escape the next day in Mountcastle.

Ms Robertson said police officers approached his Ford Galaxy, opened the driver’s side door, and told Sajjad to get out.

She said: “He did not comply. He placed the car in gear and drove off at speed while the police officers were still holding the door handles.”

Pc Ross Dunn and Pc Ryan Webster were “pulled alongside the car for a short distance”, Ms Robertson added.

The officers went to their unmarked police car and pursued Sajjad, also of Birmingham, onto a nearby road in the city’s Northfield.

Officers again approached the Galaxy and Sajjad tried to manoeuvre to escape, striking Pc Shona MacKay on the leg while doing so.

Ms Robertson said: “(Sajjad) admitted defeat and complied with police requests, switching off the vehicle’s engine.”

The pair appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
The pair appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Murray Robertson, defending Baig, told Tuesday’s hearing his client had committed “an extremely dismal offence” and demonstrated “shocking behaviour”.

Sentencing had been deferred for reports, and Mr Robertson said Baig had expressed “apparent remorse” to the report writer.

Defence agent Calum Turner, representing Sajjad, said his hairdresser client was “embarrassed by his actions” which had “brought shame to his family and community”.

Sheriff Campbell sentenced Baig to unpaid work alongside 18 months supervision and ordered a drug treatment requirement.

The sheriff gave Sajjad the unpaid work and driving ban.

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