Lambeth newsagent ‘despicable and contemptuous’ Oyster skimming scam nets him £23,000 fine

A Lambeth newsagent who spent more than two years running an Oyster card top-up scam that left commuters out of pocket was ordered to pay back £23,000.

An investigation by the Met Police and Transport for London discovered the fraud and identified Girish Pate of New Park Road, NW2.

The 63-year-old was sentenced at Old Bailey last week and ordered to pay £23,978.64 to TfL by July 17 or face further imprisonment.

Patel was previously convicted of two counts of fraud and jailed for 14 months in November 2013.

Acting Detective Superintendent John Oldham said: “This was a despicable and contemptuous crime in which Patel defrauded his customers for over two years, stealing their money by topping-up their Oyster cards with less than what they had paid for them.

“As a result of his crime he has not only served a lengthy prison sentence, but is also being made to pay back the money he stole.”

TfL’s internal audit team found that Patel was voiding ‘top-ups’ put on commuters cards and keeping the cash for himself.

He defrauded customers by topping up their cards with smaller amounts and keeping the difference but as most of his customers used un-registered cards, only one was able to be traced.

Although Patel denied owning any assets, a financial investigation uncovered a freehold property he owned and thousands of pounds spread across several bank accounts.

Steve Burton, TfL’s director of enforcement and on-street operations, said: “This is a great result for the MPS Roads Policing Command who worked closely with our Internal Audit Team to uncover the fraudulent actions of Mr Patel.

“He abused the trust of his customers and the contract he had as a TfL Ticket Shop Agent.

“His sentencing will go a long way to show our customers that we take all forms of fraud seriously and will continue to work with our policing partners to push for the toughest penalties.”

Patel will never be able to work as a TfL ticket shop agent again.

Picture courtesy of ohi007, with thanks

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