A convicted fraudster who previously scammed Justin Bieber fans has been spared jail once again after stealing £31,000 from her boss to ‘flee an arranged marriage’.
Zainab Pervaiz avoided prison by a ‘whisker’ in 2017 after admitting 16 counts of fraud, by selling fans ‘fictitious’ tickets to pop concerts including Justin Bieber.
But within five months of being given another chance she was defrauding money from her new employer by diverting refunds into a relative’s account.
The 29-year-old claimed she stole the money after her 2017 sentencing, when it emerged that she was gay – which she had until then kept a secret from her parents.
Pervaiz squandered around £24,000 of the stolen money on food, hotels and B&Bs to stay away from her family home.
She saved the rest, claiming she might need to ‘flee’ an arranged marriage to a man in Pakistan, Birmingham Crown Court was told.
Pervaiz, from Stone in Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to theft by employee in August and on Friday, she was sentenced to another 18 month sentence, suspended for two years.
Her former boss has since been left ‘facing bankruptcy’ and his business has collapsed as a result of the theft.
Pervaiz, who is in a relationship with a woman, was spared jail a second time after the court heard she stole the money ‘to flee fears of an arranged marriage’
The court heard Pervaiz ‘squandered’ the majority of the stolen money, around £24k, on motels, hotels, B&Bs and food after her relationship with a woman was exposed at the ticket fraud sentencing.
She feared ‘more severe consequences’ if she was sent to Pakistan for an arranged marriage to a man, though the judge said there was ‘probably no basis’ for those fears.
The victim’s life and van hire business has been ‘shattered’ after losing his livelihood to Pervaiz’ offending between May and July 2018, the court heard.
Birmingham Crown Court heard Zainab Pervaiz, 29, squandered around £24,000 of money stolen from her employer on food, motels and B&Bs to stay away from her family home
Harinderpal Dhami, prosecuting, said: ‘The complainant said the whole incident has left him distressed and upset as he placed her in a position of trust within his company.
‘As a result he has been left in a dire financial situation. He lost the franchise which was his livelihood. He has been paying for debts out of his own pocket.
‘He suffered from anxiety, depression and panic attacks. He’s had very little contact with his immediate family members.
‘He is now challenging bankruptcy. There is a lot of pressure and anxiety upon him, he had to plough in to the business his own personal savings to try and keep the business going.’
Lynette McClement, defending, said: ‘Her family had no idea she was gay. [After the offending], the worst disgrace for her family was that she was in a sexual relationship with a woman.
‘This was the attitude, with respect to her mother who has come around.
‘The intent was to take money and escape, to flee. That is the level of desperation I was trying to get across. I do not wish to suggest that was a reality, but it was a belief.’
The court heard Pervaiz and her now fiancé, who have a home together, were running a dog grooming business which ‘couldn’t carry on’ without her if she was sent to prison.
Zainab Pervaiz, 29, outside Birmingham Crown Court at a previous hearing in 2017, when she pleaded guilty to 16 counts of fraud after cheating Justin Bieber fans out of tickets
Birmingham Crown Court heard the victim’s life and van hire business has been ‘shattered’ after losing his livelihood to Pervaiz’ offending
In giving her another chance, Judge Sarah Buckingham told her: ‘I was perplexed and confused how, an intelligent woman like you could and would have so blatantly and deliberately set about another set of dishonest offences.
‘It was a family friend who had given you a chance, how on earth could you have stooped so low?
‘There can be absolutely no doubt that the victim has suffered irreparable loss. He is facing bankruptcy, he is personally liable for other people’s debts.
‘His life and his business has been shattered by your selfish actions.’
Judge Buckingham added that though Pervaiz had ‘failed to respect’ the opportunity given to her by the last judge, the mitigation allowed her to more clearly understand her personal situation.
‘What followed was the pressure from the community and family being brought to bear to change your sexuality for the ‘good’ of the whole family and community and their reputation,’ Judge Buckingham said.
‘Certainly that is how I am receiving the mitigation. You were unable to cope with that.
‘I am prepared to accept the fact that what you had feared were more severe consequences should you go to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.
‘There was probably no basis for thinking that at all but I’m prepared to accept you in your fragile state believed that.
‘For three years has now passed, you have now immeasurable support and people of some standing who know about this dishonest side to you, which there clearly is and needs to be addressed, have put pen to paper to speak of your positive attributes.
‘People speak very highly of you. It will not serve a purpose at all to send you to immediate custody.’
Pervaiz was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work alongside an 18 month community order.
The money stolen would be repaid to the victim through the Proceeds of Crime Act, though the judge said it would ‘never’ compensate the victim for the direct losses he has suffered as a result.