Zahid Khan was the ringleader of a West Midlands gang – which included his brothers Aamir Khan and Ayan Ahmed plus cousin Zubair Ahmad – who stole the rights to high-value personalised plates and sold them on for tens of thousands of pounds.
He and his crooked family members were eventually brought to trial in June, but just days before the case was due to finish at Birmingham Crown Court, 31-year-old Zahid fled the country.
He was given a 10-year prison sentence after being found guilty in his absence.
The jury in June failed to reach a verdict on Aamir Khan, Ayan Ahmed and Zubair Ahmad, but yesterday they were all found unanimously guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud after another trial.
And now that trial has concluded, it can be revealed that Zahid, from Yardley Wood Road in Moseley, is not only a car plate conman but also a convicted people smuggler, having been found guilty earlier this year of bringing illegal Afghan immigrants into the UK.
Zahid’s people smuggling conviction came after he was stopped at Dover on November 8 2015. Zahid was in a BMW being driven in convoy with a HGV – registered to his business – in which five Afghan nationals were found hiding in a load of tyres.
Aamir was a front-seat passenger in the HGV which had arrived on a P&O ferry in the early hours of the morning and at Canterbury Crown Court in July both were handed 30-month prison sentences for conspiring to assist unlawful immigration.
How the car con worked
The Khans, Ahmed and Ahmad ran their scam by fraudulently obtaining DVLA paperwork that enabled them to transfer ownership of five high-value number plates – 2K, 8G, 9H, 9J and C1 – without the owners’ knowledge.
Having got the details of the actual owners by pressuring a Birmingham car salesman, Zahid then contacted the DVLA to change the address by pretending to be the rightful owner and saying he had lost the log book.
Once he received the new log book – sent in the owner’s name to Zahid’s home – Zahid claimed ownership of the plates by naming himself or one of his family members as the ‘grantee’ on the relevant document.
The 2K plate was sold to an unwitting customer for £85,000 and the group were set to cash in on the 8G and 9H plates via a specialist dealer in the Black Country, only for suspicions to be raised when a salesman attempted to sell the 8G plate to a former customer who already owned the genuine plate.
Zahid, who also went by the alias Adam Hussain, was also linked to six stolen cars being run on false plates – including a VW Golf, a Vauxhall van, two Audi A3s and a Range Rover Evoque.
Zahid, who was often seen showing off driving a Ferrari in Birmingham, tried to cover his tracks by manufacturing a text conversation with a fictional rogue car dealer, but the ruse failed to trick detectives and he and his family members were arrested.
It also later emerged that a Ferrari Zahid was often seen showing off in in Birmingham had previously been written off and should not have been on the road.
At Birmingham Crown Court:
- Aamir Khan, 25, from Shutlock Lane in Moseley, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, perverting the course of justice, plus concealing and converting criminal property. He was jailed for a total of four-and-a-half years, plus an additional 30 months for the immigration offence.
- Ayan Ahmed, 39, from Mickleton Road, Solihull, and Zubair Ahmad, 32, from Springcroft Road, Tyseley, were also convicted for their part in the fraud conspiracy and jailed for three years and two years eight months respectively.
- Associate Kaesar Ali, 28, from Clarence Road, Sparkhill, was also part of the plot. He is currently serving a 10-year four-month jail term for causing death by dangerous driving and money laundering. An extra six months was added to his time behind bars.
- Ahmed and Ahmad were also both found guilty of trying to pervert the course of justice by concocting bogus text message exchanges with a phantom car dealer.
- Zahid Khan also admitted three counts of fraudulently obtaining car insurance and was convicted on a fourth count he had denied.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Rob Piper, from West Midlands Police’s Economic Unit, said: “I would urge Khan to take a long hard look at himself in the mirror and reflect on what he’s done.
“He’s run away and left his own family to take the punishment for a criminal enterprise he orchestrated…that kind of action must be hard to live with.
“We are working with the Home Office and Interpol to trace Khan and bring him to justice. But I would also urge Zahid Khan to do the honourable thing and surrender to police, instead of letting his loved ones do the time for his crimes.”