Magistrate jailed in fraud case

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A WOLVERHAMPTON Magistrate has been jailed for eighteen months for fraud.

Balbir Singh Sandhu, 62, told a businessman he had become aware of a “file” investigating his business and for £45,000 he would help make the case “disappear”, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

Sandhu, a magistrate in Wolverhampton, warned Balbir Singh Mann he could face a possible prison sentence into the alleged employment of illegal workers at his factory in Wolverhampton.

The court was told in reality there was no such case.

The magistrate – a former bus driver – pleaded guilty to fraud by way of making false representations with a view for personal gain at a previous appearance.

Judge Robert Orme told Sandhu he had “used and indeed abused the position of authority”.

“Undoubtedly you will no longer be a magistrate. Your good standing in the community has gone and your pride and dignity affected”, he said.

“Your fall from grace is likely to be all the greater because of the pedestal upon which the local community appear to have placed you.”

Prosecutor Amjad Nawaz told the court Sandhu contacted Mr Mann and made his aware of a “file” against him.

“He had access to where the files were kept. He effectively said that he could make it disappear if he would pay him and his associates a sum of £45,000”, Mr Nawaz said.

“The defendant was a magistrate and had been for six years. He knew the complainant and had done for a number of years.”

Sandhu originally met Mr Mann in February last year to discuss the plan. Subsequent phone calls were made by Sandhu providing further details of the plan.

What the defendant wasn’t aware of was that Mr Mann was secretly recording the telephone conversations.

When Mr Mann passed the recordings onto police they arrested Sandhu moments after he arrived for another meeting with Mr Mann, the court was told.

When officers searched his car they found a document which said the file had been destroyed.

Jas Mann, defending, said the defendant’s “stupidity” had “cost his everything”.

“He has lost his standing as a magistrate and also his standing in the community. He is doomed for the future to walk with his head bowed,” he said. 

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