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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss