TWO PRIVATE HIRE drivers have been sent to prison after they were caught with fraudulent PHV licences.
Masood Sheikh from Walthamstow and Hichem Hamilaoui from Ilford designed and produced fake Transport for London (TfL) PHV licences and used the documentation to illegally pick up customers in the capital.
Sheikh (60) of Millfield Avenue in Higham Hill was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to 16 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud. Hamilaoui (44) of Redcliffe Gardens, Ilford was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years.
Sheikh and Hamilaoui were apprehended by TfL enforcement and compliance offices after a site visit to a private hire operator found they were working as private hire drivers despite their licences being revoked.
Inspection of the operator’s records revealed the licences used by Sheikh and Hamilaoui were forgeries and had been used to fraudulently gain employment with a number of licensed private hire companies.
Inspector Tracy Allison, of the Metropolitan Police (MPS) Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “This is an excellent result which has seen two fraudsters receive robust judicial outcomes.
“The partnership between the Metropolitan Police and TfL has a primary aim to safeguard the public from criminals on the transport network and we will continue to crack down on illegal and unsafe minicabs and encourage people to report illegal activity to us as we always act on this intelligence.”
TfL’s chief operating officer for surface transport Garrett Emmerson said: “Our compliance officers are out and about in London every day and night, working to regulate the trade.
“This conviction should hopefully send a message to anyone else thinking that they will get away with this sort of activity that we will find you and work with the police to push for the strongest sentences to stop it happening again.”
Both men now face further investigation of their financial affairs by the MPS under the Proceeds of Crime Act.