A judge compared a fraudster to the former first lady of the Philippines as a court heard she used the proceeds of a bank swindle to spend a fortune on designer shoes.
Married couple Emmanuel Scotts, 53, and Behnaz Khoram-Scotts, 51, both from Chelsea, west London, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and conspiracy to commit fraud following an investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit funded by the banking and cards industry.
The couple opened six different bank accounts with fake names after they lied about their professions to present themselves as wealthy.
Behnaz Khoram-Scotts, 51, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years.
Emmanuel Scotts, 53, was jailed for four years but 392 days was taken off his sentence due to the fact he has been under an electronically monitored curfew
The couple used their fake bank accounts to deposit foreign cheques, one of which was for £81,000.
Prosecutor Sam Barker told London Crown Court police recovered 63 pairs of designer shoes from Khoram-Scotts’ home, including Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Louis Vuitton with her ill-gotten gains.
Judge Nigel Peters interrupted to say: ‘Competition with Mrs Marcos.’
Imelda Marcos was first lady of the Philippines for 21 years during which she and her husband stole billions, with some of the money going on her collection of shoes which numbered more than 3,000 pairs.
The prosecutor added: ‘They have never had any significant legitimate income, they only lived off of fraudulent activity. The items purchased in the fraud included designer clothes.’
Judge Peters said: ‘Well, there’s no point having ill-gotten gains and not going to Selfridges, is there?’
Mr Scotts was arrested on April 15, 2020, at Heathrow Airport where around £7,000 in euros, several credit cards, cheque books, and a bank statement showing a balance of £104,000 was found in his luggage.
The DCPCU also searched Mr Scotts’s second home address in Queenstown Road, Wandsworth, finding blank cheques and bank cards in other account names, as well as account details written down.
Former Philipines first lady Imelda Marcos looks at her famous shoe collection in 2001
Judge Peters told the pair: ‘It would not come as any surprise to you that you are portrayed, rightly, as serial fraudsters.
‘You have spend a life enjoying the fruits of crime. You spent time enjoying luxury accommodation without paying.
‘You portrayed yourself as major players, high rollers, enabling you to prey on the bank, with which you opened accounts with false names.
‘This was a well thought out fraud, well planned, with sophisticated tools of the trade.
‘There is not a single indication in your lifestyle that you are willing to change.’
Scotts was jailed for four years but 392 days was taken off his sentence due to the fact he has been under an electronically monitored curfew while on bail for the past two years.
Khoram-Scotts was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years.
Detective Constable Martin Godsave, who investigated the case for the DCPCU, commented: ‘This husband and wife wrongfully thought they could get away with funding their lifestyle by committing fraud.
‘Fortunately, we were able to detect these fraudsters by working closely with the bank to bring them to justice.
‘This sentencing is a warning to those who believe they can benefit financially from fraud that they will be caught and punished.’