"Waleed Mohamed was part of a fraud that resulted in dozens of overpaid student loans."
Waleed Mohamed, aged 26, of Southall, was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, on Thursday, January 17, 2019, at Harrow Crown Court.
He committed two counts of fraud in which he conned students into applying for more loans than they were entitled to and pocketing a cut from the profits.
Mohamed, a former postgraduate student himself, committed the fraud between December 1, 2015, to August 31, 2016.
It was heard that Mohamed approached university students and persuaded them that they were legally entitled to more money. He claimed he worked for student finance or knew a contact who worked for the Student Loans Company.
After gaining their trust, Mohamed logged into students’ loan accounts and completed a change of circumstances form stating they had moved out of their parental home.
This entitled each student up to £3,444 more. Mohamed would then take a cut out of the additional money paid to the student.
In total, Mohamed was able to pocket £33,653 through this method.
Suspicions first arose after the Student Loans Company saw a huge increase in the number of students claiming they were living away from their parents’ homes despite attending London universities.
Multiple students also provided new addresses in the Southall area where Mohamed lived.
Mohamed was arrested and charged with two counts of fraud. According to prosecutors, he used the money to fund his lifestyle and pay for holidays to Morroco and Canada.
Nigel Drewry, from the CPS, said: “Waleed Mohamed was part of a fraud that resulted in dozens of overpaid student loans from which he handsomely benefitted.
“He told his victims that they would no longer get any financial help from the Student Loans Company if they did not pay him a cut.
“He used the money to fund his lifestyle and to pay for holidays abroad to Morocco and Canada.”
This resulted in the Student Loans Company paying out an extra £73, 267.
Mohamed pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 16 months in prison which was suspended for 18 months. In addition, he was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Mr Drewry added: “What is more, Mohamed called the Student Loans Company to chase up payments using the same mobile phone number while pretending to be other students.
“He also accessed a number of student loan accounts from his computer rousing further suspicion.
“Fraud is illegal and the CPS will continue to work with the police and Student Loans Company to prosecute offenders.”
The students are believed to have thought the process was legitimate but will still have to pay back the loans in full in the usual way.