Woman sentenced for music tickets scam
- Credit: PA
A woman who duped her girlfriend in a sales scam to cheat Justin Bieber fans into buying fake gig tickets has avoided jail ‘by a whisker’.
Zainab Pervaiz also set up online listings for performances by Beyonce and Adele, and in all defrauded victims out of £9,982, between August 2015 and July 2016.
Most of the offences took place in Weston-super-Mare.
The 25-year-old used a PayPal account belonging to her girlfriend’s grandfather, Sydney Bricknell, in order to take payment from unsuspecting pop fans.
When disgruntled customers complained their tickets had not arrived, it was unwitting Mr Bricknell who had to repay them, and the police became involved soon after.
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Pervaiz admitted 16 counts of fraud by false representation before her appearance at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday), for sentence.
Gary Cook, prosecuting, told the court further investigations revealed there were many victims who had not come forward, and that up to £40,000 may have been taken during the scam.
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However, Judge Simon Drew QC, told Pervaiz he would sentence her only for the crimes she had admitted.
Mr Cook told how Pervaiz, who worked as a paralegal for Walsall’s Fountain Solicitors before she was sacked, was in a relationship with the elderly victim’s ‘vulnerable’ granddaughter Kayleigh Bricknell.
He said: “The defendant presented herself to Ms Bricknell as a solicitor; said she had rich friends, and that her father co-founded Ticketmaster.”
She also claimed to have worked for commercial law firm Wragge & Co, however later told police this had been ‘a joke’.
Pervaiz, who ‘came across as plausible’, abused the Bricknells’ trust and, when she was discovered, lied ‘constantly and repeatedly’ that she would repay the cash - without handing over a penny.
However, her barrister Rachel Pennington explained that the family had raised £11,000 to cover the compensation and asked the judge to suspend the jail sentence.
She said Pervaiz wanted to express her ‘deep regret and remorse’, and ‘heartfelt apologies’ to those affected.
Sentencing, Judge Drew said Pervaiz, who had payday loan company and bank debts, had carried out the fraud ‘to enjoy certain luxuries in your life’.
He added: “You are someone it appears, whose expectations of life clearly far exceeds your means.
“Rather than confess to your family, you thought you would simply try to bluff your way through.
“You were well and truly caught out.
“You have come within a whisker of imprisonment.”
The judge told a weeping Pervaiz he would suspend her two-year jail term on each count, for a period of two years.
He said: “You’ve lost your good character, a career in law is almost certainly dead and buried, but it seems to me in the circumstances of the case, the interests of justice, the community at large, and the victims are best served by me suspending your sentence.”
Pervaiz was ordered to pay compensation in full to all 16 victims, including Mr Bricknell.