Crown Prosecution Service employees admit making £1m of bogus claims for witness taxi fares

Pair produced invoices for fictitious cab firm

Two Crown Prosecution Service employees have admitted making more than £1 million worth of bogus claims for taxi fares.

Finance manager Lisa Burrows and officer worker Tahir Mahmood were warned to expect "inevitable" jail terms after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Birmingham Crown Court.

Burrows, 41, of Oldbury, West Midlands, and Mahmood, 50, from Hodge Hill, Birmingham, are believed to have used the proceeds of the five-year scam to pay off a mortgage and fund trips to Dubai.

The pair, who will be sentenced in July, showed no obvious sign of emotion as they admitted conning the CPS out of £1,021,475 by producing invoices for a fictitious cab firm purporting to cater for witnesses.

Prosecutor Brian Dean told the court that investigators were still attempting to trace the proceeds of the fraud.

Asking Judge Nicholas Webb for the case to be adjourned until July 4, the barrister said ongoing inquiries into international bank accounts were being made by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Mr Dean added: "There is not, at the moment, any explanation for where the money has gone.

"A financial analyst is considering all the information so that a sentencing judge can be given a very clear idea of precisely what has happened to the money."

It was possible, Mr Dean said, that Mahmood had used £120,000 to clear a mortgage, while Burrows was thought to have visited Dubai on many occasions.

"These things need to be run to ground so that the sentencing judge has a full and accurate picture of the precise nature of the spending and the whereabouts of the money," Mr Dean said.

Burrows, of Titford Road, and Mahmood, of Eastbourne Avenue, were charged last month after an investigation by police acting on a complaint from the CPS.

Mahmood, thought to be a former taxi driver, worked for the CPS as an administrative assistant.

An earlier hearing at Birmingham Magistrates' Court was informed that he opened bank accounts using a different surname to facilitate the fraud.

The hearing at the lower court also heard that inquiries into Burrows' finances found evidence of expensive purchases of designer clothes, jewellery and holidays.

At the time of the previous hearing on February 28, no more than £1,400 had been found in accounts connected to Mahmood, who claimed no funds were left from the extensive fraud.

The CPS colleagues, both of previous good character, were remanded in custody pending the preparation of pre-sentence reports.

Judge Webb told them: "You have both pleaded guilty to what is a serious offence and both of you recognise that the court will impose a custodial sentence when you come back to be sentenced."

Burrows and Mahmood were both dismissed from their posts by the CPS on the day they first appeared in court.

Commenting on their guilty pleas, Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime for the CPS, said: "This was a significant fraud of at least £1,000,000 and those responsible have now been brought to justice.

"The CPS will be taking steps to recover the funds."

PA

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn