A property lawyer who used her expertise to forge legal documents to win a private dispute has been jailed. Madasser Hussain, 44, and her husband Agha Rashid falsified documents in a bid to recoup £60,000 from the owner of a Newcastle takeaway following a dispute over his wages.
The court heard that Hussain had invested the £60,000 into the Spice of Punjab takeaway in 2002 at which point Rashid started working behind the counter.
In 2008, the manager realised Rashid had mistakenly been overpaid during his employment and asked for the extra wages to be repaid: when the couple refused the owner dissolved the business partnership with Hussain as the overpayments roughly matched her original investment.
In a bid to protect her stake, the solicitor of 17 years forged a Land Registry document to lodge a charge of £60,000 on a residential property in Heaton belonging to the owner.
When the owner tried to sell the residential property in January 2014, the sale was blocked and both parties were left at a standstill. Hussain refused to lift the charge, hoping this would force the owner to pay back the £60,000 investment.
It was at this point police were called in and detectives from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit began investigating. They uncovered the forged Land Registry paperwork as well as a string of legal documents that Hussain had forged to cover their tracks.
Both were charged with fraud by false representation and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, with Rashid convicted at Newcastle Crown Court in June and Hussain found guilty following a re-trial at Teesside Crown Court in January.
Hussain and Rashid, from Fenham in Newcastle, were jailed for three years and eight months and three years and three months respectively.
Following the case, investigating officer Detective Constable Steve Brown said the fraud was motivated by ‘desperation and greed’.
‘Rather than accept that their money was gone, they instead resorted to criminal means to try and extort money from the takeaway owner,’ he said.
‘Anyone who thinks they can forge documents for their own financial gain, especially professional enablers such as solicitors, should take a look at this case and realise that they won’t get away with it.’
The SRA will begin its own investigation into Hussain’s conduct following her conviction.
Source: The Law Society Gazette