Couple face jail after fraud

A deaf couple fuelled a lavish lifestyle by using their disability to pocket nearly £1million in a sophisticated benefits fraud.

Shahab Reza, 52, and his wife Shahnaz, 53, were described as ‘breathtakingly arrogant' after using the money to buy luxury properties and jewellery, including a ‘flawless' £8,000 diamond.

The couple set up a complex network of fake companies around the world while still receiving benefits.

By submitting bogus invoices for sign language interpreters, they duped officials out of the huge sums with ‘scandalous ease'.
The elaborate scam saw the greedy couple net £800,000. They also lied to a council about their financial position, getting a further £100,000 in other benefits and tax exemptions.

They used the money, which was earmarked to help vulnerable individuals find work, to fund a holiday to Dubai, where they bought a £600,000 penthouse apartment.

Shahab Reza, an accountant who was described as the mastermind of the fraud, even recruited his university-educated children to take part in the scheme.

Their son Abbas, 26, and daughter Zainab, 22, spoke on their parents' behalf and signed off paperwork from their early teenage years.

Abbas, who works as a doctor, even used the money to fund a ‘jolly' to America while still a student and the siblings allegedly used the companies to harvest false expenses claims.

The children said they were ‘doing what they were told' by their malicious father, who abused their vulnerability.

Shahab Reza orchestrated the four-year con by submitting fake invoices for sign language interpreters to the Department of Work and Pensions through the Access to Work scheme.