"He's run away and left his own family to take the punishment."
Zahid Khan, aged 31, of Moseley, Birmingham, has fled the UK after facing jail over a £500,000 number plate scam.
It was heard that days before the case was due to end at Birmingham Crown Court in June 2018, he had fled the country.
The rest of the West Midlands gang, which included his brothers Aamir Khan, aged 25, and Ayan Ahmed, aged 39, were convicted and jailed on Friday, December 7, 2018.
Ringleader Khan was given a 10-year prison sentence after being found guilty in his absence.
Aamir Khan was jailed for four-and-a-half years for fraud, plus an additional 30 months for immigration offences.
Ayan Ahmed was jailed for three years and Zubair Ahmad was jailed for two years and eight months for their part in the fraud conspiracy.
DC Rob Piper, of 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.”
After the trial concluded, it was revealed that Khan is also a convicted people smuggler after he was found guilty in early 2018 for bringing Afghan immigrants into the UK.
He was caught in Dover during November 2015. Khan was a passenger in a lorry registered to his business.
Police found five Afghani people hiding inside the lorry and Khan was handed a 30-month prison sentence in July 2018.
The Court heard that they had been stealing the rights to high-value personalised number plates and later selling them on for tens of thousands of pounds.
The three brothers and their cousin Zubair Ahmad, aged 32, ran their operations by fraudulently obtaining DVLA documents which allowed them to transfer ownership of five high-value number plates without the owner’s knowledge.
They then pressured a Birmingham car salesman into handing over details of the actual owners.
Khan contacted the DVLA to change the address by pretending to be the owner and saying he had lost the log book.
After receiving the log book, the fraudster claimed ownership of the number plates by naming himself or one of his family members as the ‘grantee’ on the document.
One of the number plates was sold to an unwitting customer for £85,000.
Suspicions about Khan’s fraudulent activities arose after they were set to cash in on two number plates through a salesman in the Black Country.
The salesman attempted to sell one of the plates to a former customer who already owned the genuine plate.
Investigating detectives linked Khan to six stolen cars being run on false plates when under the alias Adam Hussain.
Khan had often been spotted driving around Birmingham in a Ferrari. When detectives were onto him, Zahid attempted to cover his tracks by creating a text conversation with a fictional rogue dealer.
However, his attempts failed to thwart detectives and he and his family members were arrested.
It was later discovered that the Ferrari had been previously written off and should not have been on the roads.
The Khans, Ahmed and Ahmad appeared in court in June 2018 before Zahid left the country.
Birmingham Crown Court failed to reach a verdict on the three other men, they were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud in a later trial.
They were all jailed for their role in the conspiracy to commit fraud.
Police are still looking for Zahid Khan and intend to bring him to justice. DC Piper added:
“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.”
Khan has revealed why he left the UK. He said: “I was having no justice and the only safest option I had was to leave this country.
“Please, all I want is justice to be served. I will speak my voice until I’m heard and I will not stop until justice is served.”