A Birmingham man has today been sentenced to 28 months imprisonment for 5 counts of fraud for impersonating his brother to obtain a taxi driver’s license in Walsall.
Moshin Zeb, aged 24 of George Road in Erdington also received a sentence of 4 months imprisonment for driving whilst disqualified and a sentence of 4 months for no insurance, both to serve concurrently with the 28 month sentence.
The case was originally heard at Black Country Magistrates Court but the seriousness of the offences meant that sentencing was referred upwards to Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Zeb had previously pleaded guilty to 7 separate charges of false representation, premeditated fraud and a string of driving offences in the borough of Walsall and wider. His earlier guilty plea reduced his sentencing from 42 months to 28.
He was charged by Walsall Council with a long list of fraud and driving offences. These included driving without a driving licence and insurance and impersonating his brother in order to fraudulently gain a licence to drive Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles in the borough of Walsall. Zeb was disqualified from holding a licence in September 2013 for dangerous driving. Solicitors representing the Council accused him of knowingly posing as his brother Muheen Zeb, including providing paperwork in the name of his sibling so he could obtain a licence to operate as a taxi Driver in Walsall.
The court heard that between 7 February and 16 March 2017, Zeb carried out over 500 pre-booked taxi journeys, all for profit and all whilst disqualified from driving, uninsured and on the basis of numerous dishonest representations that he had made in order to secure a taxi driver license and private hire work.
Following a tip-off from a member of the public, Walsall’s Licensing Officers questioned Zeb and discovered that he had been fraudulently using his brother’s identity to operate as a taxi driver.
He was charged with applying for a vehicle proprietor’s licence and presenting documents on several occasions between January and April 2017 to Council Licensing officers in the full knowledge that they were not his. He was therefore charged with illegally assuming the identity of his brother Muheen Zeb, as well as falsely presenting himself in this guise.
Walsall Council had also charged him with driving vehicles on the highway whilst disqualified from driving and without insurance on 25 April 2017.
Sentencing Mr Zeb, His Honour Judge Wassall, sitting as a deputy circuit judge said that his deliberate act had put hundreds of passengers at risk, knowing that they would not have been insured. Zeb, he added had placed members of the public in an ‘invidious position’ and there could have been catastrophic circumstances as a result of him being uninsured.
Councillor Ian Shires, Portfolio Holder for Communities Leisure and Culture said: “He knew exactly what he was doing when he started impersonating his brother; Taxi drivers are in a position of trust and the public have a right to feel safe each time they use their services. As a father and husband, the question you have to ask yourself each time a member of your family uses a taxi is ‘Is my son, daughter or partner safe in the company of this person?’. The fact that Mr Zeb was disqualified for dangerous driving says it all really.
“This case highlights the important work that our enforcement officers do to ensure that taxis are a safe transport option for the public.
“I’d like to thank officers for their vigilance and reassure residents that we will do all we can to ensure their safety.”
Zeb was also disqualified from driving for 3 years and 6 months.