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13 August 2010, 07:41
Thirty-five-year old Gageen Preet Singh is today, Thursday 12 August, starting a prison sentence after admitting systematically impersonating driving test candidates across the South East and further afield.
He was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court today, following a joint investigation by the Regional Asset Recovery Team, part of the newly formed South East Organised Crime Directorate, working with Driving Standards Agency (DSA) investigators.
He received a 12 month prison sentence for the fraud offences and a two month prison sentence (to run consecutively) for the driving while disqualified offences. He was disqualified from driving for two years and a deportation order was served on him for the end of his sentence.
Singh was arrested in June and at Reigate Magistrates' on the 24 June he pleaded guilty to 15 offences. Nine related to fraud by impersonating test candidates and six were of driving whilst disqualified.
At court today he also asked for 156 further offences to be taken into consideration.
He had been identified as being responsible for impersonating candidates at both theory and practical driving tests all over the country using various of disguises to alter his appearance to take the tests. Police seized disguises including wigs and false moustaches when he was arrested.
Singh was arrested whilst at an address in Colnbrook, Bucks, but has no fixed address.
He had previously been arrested by Thames Valley Police whilst actually taking an impersonated test in Milton Keynes in October last year and was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment. But immediately on his release this February he re-started his illegal operation, charging anything from £600 for a theory test to £3000 for a practical test.
Detective Sergeant Dennis Phelan of the South East Serious Organised Crime Directorate said; "This type of crime has grown in recent years. Not only does it put the public at risk with unskilled and dangerous drivers using the road, but it provides false driving licenses which can help create false identities. This can enable them to unlock the doors to all types of fraud and other crime ."
Andy Rice, head of DSA's Fraud and Integrity Team said: "The Driving Standards Agency is committed to working with the Police to eradicate the problem of individuals who carry out these types of offences. "
When Singh was arrested almost £52,000 in cash was seized by detectives. This cash is believed to have been just part of what he earned from this criminality and Singh has disclaimed all rights to it. Police will apply to magistrates for its forfeiture.