A man has been sentenced after stealing the identity of a legitimate court interpreter and providing services to the courts in 140 cases, despite having no qualifications to do so.
On 12th February 2021, Mirwais Patang, 27, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Southwark Crown Court. He has also been ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid work within 24 months.
Patang, of Stirling Road, Hillingdon, previously pleaded guilty on 27th August 2020 to two counts of forgery and two counts of fraud.
On 4th January 2021, the first day of a trial scheduled to last for two weeks, Patang admitted a further six counts of fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of forgery.
Detective Andy Cope, from the City of London Police’s fraud team, said:
“This has been a long and complex investigation with further fraudulent activity and deceit being uncovered at every twist and turn.
“The blind greed shown by Patang, and the total disregard for the implications of his actions and what it might mean for the integrity of serious criminal trials, is truly appalling. By thinking of only his own financial gain, he has undermined confidence in the criminal justice system and put victims of crime through unfair stress and worry.”
City of London Police said Patang first acted as a Pashto and Dari interpreter in March 2012, using his own name and identity to register with Capita, the company contracted by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), between January 2012 and October 2016.
The MoJ relied upon Capita’s processes to ensure interpreters were suitably vetted and qualified.
Those wishing to provide interpreting services, as self-employed individuals or contractors, would register with Capita online and then be taken through vetting, security and quality checks and finally issued a ‘tier’ reflecting their skill and experience level.
Patang was granted Tier 3 status after he doctored a community interpreting certificate to prove his qualification to Capita.
Between March 2012 and August 2016, Patang earnt £35,574 after he worked on 88 cases.
In September 2014, Patang stole the identity of a legitimate court interpreter who had Tier 1 status with Capita.
A Tier 1 status requires additional qualifications and experience and, as a result, Tier 1 individuals are paid more for their work. Through using this stolen identity, Patang earned just over £30,000 between September 2014 and July 2015, after working on 52 cases.
Capita alerted HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to discrepancies in timesheets submitted by Patang for his work interpreting in the high-profile Aylesbury child sexual abuse case.
He had been interpreting for defendant Taimoor Khan when he tried to claim for an additional 93 hours of work and his fraudulent activity was finally uncovered.
Fraud teams from the City of London Police began an investigation and found that not only had Patang inflated his claims for this case, but the evidence showed he was using someone else’s identity to pose as a legitimate court interpreter.
Capita then confirmed Patang had also carried out interpreting work in his own name and had attended 88 cases.
Officers then found the qualifications he had provided to be forgeries.
A review of the translations provided by Patang in court was conducted and after listening to audio files, officers suspected that the individual interpreting at the trial of those accused in the Aylesbury child sex abuse case was not in fact Mirwais Patang.
The City Of London police collected evidence to show that Patang had paid his friend, Solimann David, £1,400 to attend court on his behalf. David had provided translating services for eight weeks of the trial and David also had no qualifications to act as an interpreter.
Solimann David, 27, of Pinner Road, Hillingdon pleaded guilty on 27th August 2020 to a single count of conspiracy to commit fraud.
On 12th February, he was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to six months imprisonment, suspended for one year. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work within 24 months.
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