A judge has adjourned the sentence of a solicitor convicted of defrauding his firm out of more than £30,000 until his wife goes on maternity leave, as he does not have any childcare in the afternoons.
Mohammed Khan, 26, used his position at Harwood Solicitors in Blackburn to siphon insurance pay-outs which were intended for clients into his own bank account.
He also borrowed £4,000 from the firm to pay for improvements to his kitchen but spent the money on gambling debts.
When asked by a mutual friend when he was going to pay the money back, he said: “I’m not paying f*** all back. They’re lucky I only took a couple of grand.”
On January 11 2018, the day before he resigned from Harwood’s, Khan set up payments with Aviva insurance company to his own account, rather than Harwood’s.
He went on to carry out a similar fraud against Allianz Insurance, and borrowed £4,000 from Harwood’s claiming he needed it for kitchen renovations.
Khan, who has previous convictions for burglary, robbery and dishonesty offences, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud totalling £32,232 and appeared at Preston Crown Court for sentence.
Recorder Philip Parry told him: “You might as well know that the circumstances of this case and your previous convictions are such that you really ought to prepare yourself for a term of immediate imprisonment.”
But at the hearing on Tuesday October 15, Khan’s defence lawyer Daniel Prowse told the court his client was the primary carer for his three-year-old son while his wife was at work between 9am and 5pm.
The child attends a local nursery under the ‘free hours’ provision in the mornings but is looked after by his father in the afternoon. No other family members could look after the child, Mr Prowse said.
However in January 2020, Khan’s wife – who is pregnant with their second child – will start maternity leave and will be available to care for both children.
Recorder Parry adjourned the sentence till Friday October 18 to allow Khan time to put his affairs in order ahead of his incarceration.
He said: “I am just pressing pause on that now to allow you to take care of the arrangements for your three-year-old child.”
But when Khan returned to court with no solution to his childcare quandary, the judge agreed to adjourn sentence until January 18, when Khan’s wife will be able to look after both her children.