A conwoman who posed as a “simple and sincere” bride-to-be to trick unsuspecting suitors out of £35,000 with a dating website honey trap has avoided jail.
Sidra Fatima said she was divorced and looking for a husband ‘who knows the meaning of love’ on Asian marriage site Shaadi.com.
The mum-of-two conned seven men over two years, getting them to part with cash and gifts.
Fatima, 33, was already married and had set up the scam with husband Raja Haider Ali, 45, who pretended to be her cousin or brother.
Once they hooked a victim Fatima arranged to meet them, and even their families on occasion, and Ali would chaperone her in one of his guises.
John Harrison, prosecuting, told Bradford Crown Court today (Friday) that Fatima, previously of Dewsbury but now of Mill View, Huddersfield, had two profiles on the website “to enable the defendants to catch more hopeful men in their trap”.
At the top of one of her pages Fatima described herself as “simple and sincere”.
Mr Harrison said: “The various suitors were not told that Fatima and Ali were married. Following the initial meeting, Fatima would agree to marriage.
“She would then insist that the complainant hand over money to pay for the wedding and also to purchase items to for the wedding to give to her in the form of a dowry.
“After purchases had been made and money handed over, Fatima would terminate the relationship, either by telling the complainant that she no longer wished to pursue the relationship of by simply not returning his phonecalls.”
On one occasion when a suitor asked for his money back Ali threatened him, telling him he had murdered 20 people in Pakistan and showing him a picture of an AK-47 on his phone.
Some of the young men they targeted were left “burdened by debt”.
Between them the pair stung their victims for £36,620 – around £5,000 each.
Unemployed Fatima and her taxi driver husband had pleaded guilty part way through their trial last year.
The court heard the marriage scam was part of a variety of fraud offences committed by Fatima and Ali, of Springbank Road, Huddersfield.
Sentencing Fatima to a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two-years and Ali to two-and-a-half years in jail, Judge Colin Burn said: “You both benefited from these frauds and it is clear you lived a very comfortable lifestyle.
“You cheated suitors who had to put up with humiliation, debt and misery.”
The court heard when arrested a Jaguar car was in Fatima’s drive and a Volvo was in Ali’s garage.
Fatima had previously admitted providing false details about her employment and income in relation to a £171,000 mortgage fraud involving a former home.
The pair had also admitted charges involving insurance claims for three “staged burglaries” at the same property.
Ali, who also goes under three other different names, had admitted six of the marriage deceptions committed between May 2009 and January 2011.
He also admitted fraud charges in relation to money he obtained from a man who he thought would buy their house.