£5m fraud mum and dad jailed

PUBLISHED: 13:10 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:34 26 October 2009

A HATFIELD businesswoman has been jailed for four-and-a-half years, alongside her husband who was given 12 months behind bars. The couple, who have young children, were guilty of a massive piracy ring costing the music industry £5m.....

A HATFIELD businesswoman has been jailed for four-and-a-half years, alongside her husband who was given 12 months behind bars.

The couple, who have young children, were guilty of a massive piracy ring costing the music industry £5m.

Gang leader Farhat Nissa used her well-respected music CD brokerage SFH on Hatfield Business Park - one of the largest in the UK - as a front.

The gang imported thousands of music CDs from factories in the Czech Republic.

Among the artists pirated were R&B acts Destiny's Child and Usher, rapper 50 Cent and pop diva Mariah Carey.

Nissa, 35, and her husband Mohammed Shaikh, 38, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the music industry, between May 21, 2003, and December 22, 2005, after a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Shaikh was also found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice after cops found him disposing of incriminating evidence at their home in Amberden Avenue, Finchley, north London.

Judge Inigo Bing, sentencing yesterday (Wednesday), said the conspiracy was "organised and extremely efficient" because it operated under the "cloak of respectability".

He told Nissa: "It gives me no pleasure to send both husband, wife and the mother and the father of young children to prison, but there is no alternative in this case."

The couple, now set to lose their ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act, splashed out on a new four-wheel drive BMW X5 and paid off the mortgage on their luxury home.

Market trader Wasim Mir, 37, from Cranley Drive, Ilford, east London, ordered the illicit compilation CDs from Hatfield-based SFH and supplied market stalls and shops across the south-east.

He was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

The operation was smashed after a year-long investigation by the Met police and the music industry.

Nissa's company at Hearle Way, Hatfield, is now in receivership.


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