UK femme fatale avoids jail for Islamic marriage scam

Sidra Fatima, 33, and her husband Raja Haider Ali, 45, carried on their charade for nearly two years. (Photo courtesy: Rossparry/Paul Macnamara)

A conwoman posing as a “simple and sincere” potential bride to trick men out of money on a South Asian marriage website has avoided a jail sentence in the UK.

Sidra Fatima, 33, carried on her charade for nearly two years, getting seven men to part with £35,000 on the false pretense that she would spend the money on marriage preparations.

On Friday, the mother of two avoided a jail sentence and instead was given a 12-month suspended sentence despite the judge saying her faux suitors “had to put up with humiliation, debt and misery.”

Fatima used her profile on marriage website Shaadi.com to scam men looking for a wife.

On her profile she said she was divorced and looking for a husband “who knows the meaning of love.”

However, she was married and had set up the scam with her Raja Haider Ali, 45.

Once they found a victim, Fatima would arrange to meet him and Ali would occasionally chaperone her, pretending to be a male relative, reported the Daily Mail.

Prosecutor John Harrison Friday told Bradford Crown Court that “the various suitors were not told that Fatima and Ali were married. Following the initial meeting, Fatima would agree to marriage.”

According to the lawyer, Fatima would then insist that the complainant hand over money to pay for the wedding and wedding related items.

“After purchases had been made and money handed over, Fatima would terminate the relationship, either by telling the complainant that she no longer wished to pursue the relationship of by simply not returning his phone calls.

“The defendants made significant sums from this fraudulent activity,” added the prosecutor.

Reading from one victim impact statement, Harrison said: “[The victim] is still traumatized and embarrassed and has lost the faith and confidence in himself.”

Reading from another, he said: “She convinced him that she was a good person. He was convinced she was telling the truth and spent all his savings on her.”

One victim said in his statement: “She is good at using emotional blackmail so I spent more on her than I wanted to.”

Unemployed Fatima and her husband, a taxi driver, pleaded guilty in the middle of their trial last year, the Daly Mail reported.
Ali had admitted six of the marriage deceptions committed between May 2009 and January 2011.

The court heard that on one occasion, when a suitor asked for his money back, Ali threatened him, telling him he had murdered 20 people in Pakistan.

Judge Colin Burn sentenced Fatima to a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two-years and Ali to two-and-a-half years in jail.

“You both benefited from these frauds and it is clear you lived a very comfortable lifestyle,” the judge said.

“You cheated suitors who had to put up with humiliation, debt and misery.”

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Last Update: 12:00 KSA 15:00 - GMT 12:00
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