Bogus bride’s £35,000 wedding scam

FIANCEE FRAUD Sidra Fatima, who conned seven marriage suitors out of thousands.
FIANCEE FRAUD Sidra Fatima, who conned seven marriage suitors out of thousands.

A bogus bride set up a honey trap to snare seven suitors on a dating website – and conned them out of £35,000.

Sidra Fatima, 33, set up an account on Asian marriage site, stating she was looking for ‘someone who knows the meaning of love’, before scarpering with their cash and gifts.

But Fatima was already married and set up the scam with husband Raja Haider Ali, 45, who pretended to be her cousin or brother-in-law.

On the site she described herself as a ‘simple and sincere, learning from life and finding myself, looking for someone who can touch my soul’.

She claimed to be divorced, with a child and no sisters.

In each case, Fatima arranged to meet the victim and sometimes his family, with her real husband posing as a chaperone.

After the first meeting, she would agree to marriage, and insist money to pay for the wedding was handed over.

She would also insist the victim purchased items for the wedding to give to her.

But once she had her hands on the gifts she would end the relationship, either by telling the complainant that she no longer wished to pursue it or by not returning his phone calls. Unemployed mum-of-two Fatima and taxi driver Ali pleaded guilty part way through a trial at Bradford Crown Court on Wednesday.

John Harrison, prosecuting, told the jury each victim spent about £5,000 on dowries and wedding gifts, only to be told the wedding would not take place.

After their arrests Fatima claimed she had been forced to take part in the offending by her husband while Ali suggested he was being blackmailed by his wife.

A jury heard the scams were part of a variety of fraud offences committed by the couple.

Fatima admitted nine counts of fraud; seven relating to the wedding scams, and two relating to giving false details about heremployment and income over a £171,000 mortgage fraud.

The pair also admitted charges involving insurance claims for three ‘staged burglaries’ at the same property.

Ali, who goes under three different names, admitted six of the marriage deceptions committed between May 2009 and January 2011.

He also admitted mortgage fraud charges.

The jury heard Fatima, of Dewsbury, had not worked since the couple settled in the Huddersfield area in 1999 while Ali, of Huddersfield, made a modest income as a taxi driver.

Judge Colin Burn will sentence the pair next month and bailed them with the condition they surrender their passports.

“You should both be under no illusion that the offences you committed are almost inevitably going to end in a custodial sentence,” he added.