Former banker who claimed he was dying of cancer jailed for almost 7 years over £1.8m fraud
Rajesh Ghedia pretended he had less than a year left to live as part of his insurance scam
As well as carrying out insurance fraud, Rajesh Ghedia, who was jailed for six years and nine months, targeted people he knew in an investment fraud.
And when the former bank worker was quizzed by those he convinced to invest about delays to payments he gave a series of excuses, including claiming his daughter had been killed in a car crash.
Ghedia, 42, who admitted over 30 combined counts of fraud, faked medical documentation and letters from a consultant to claim insurance money between October 2020 and May last year.
In a recording of a call made by him to a firm about a pension fund he can be heard to say that he has advanced pancreatic cancer and has “one year left at the most”.
Ghedia’s other series of scams saw him make fraudulent claims about his position at Bank of America to encourage seven people, including his cousin, to invest in non-existent financial products with the company and Goldman Sachs from 2016 to 2020.
Ghedia claimed he had a year left to live ‘at the most’
Jack Talbot, prosecuting, had set out what he described as “significant cases of fraud”.
During the course of his career, Ghedia had signed up to a number of pension plans which allowed him to withdraw funds should he be given less than 12 months to live.
Ghedia also took out a life insurance policy with critical illness cover in March 2017 with an insurer, which could be claimed on in the same way should he be diagnosed with a terminal illness. The value of this policy was £1.2 million.
He first contacted the pensions team for one of his plans in October 2020 to report that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had no more than 12 months to live.
Ghedia produced fake medical documentation and letters from a consultant oncologist at the London Clinic, a private hospital in central London.
Checks were done to ensure the legitimacy of the medical professional. As the doctor was listed on the General Medical Council register, the pension provider released two payments to Ghedia totalling £14,581.32.
Ghedia contacted his insurer around three months later to make a claim on his life insurance policy. The insurer tried to contact him, but did not hear back from him for over a month. Ghedia alleged that he was unreachable over this period because he had been admitted to hospital.
Ultimately £1,201,096.97 was paid into his account in May 2021 after it was seemingly confirmed his illness was genuine.
However, his lies later caught up with him when his mortgage provider Spring Finance made a report to Action Fraud saying it was taking him to court for not paying his mortgage. The firm was told of his diagnosis, but a fraud Investigator from the company doubted the authenticity of the documents.
The City of London Police Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department launched its investigation in June 2021, after receiving the report from Action Fraud. The main doctor named on Ghedia’s medical reports confirmed he had never treated Ghedia, nor had anyone with that name been a patient at his clinic.
The doctor also proved the email addresses and signatures on documents provided by Ghedia were fake.
Investigators also uncovered Ghedia had claimed early on a further five pension plans because of his ‘illness’. The total value withdrawn from these plans came to £69,335.36.
Taxi driver had to sell home after being conned out of cash
In his other scam, Ghedia caused victims to lose a total of £600,000 after being told they could double or triple their money over a short period of time.
He had been employed at the Bank of America in a support role, and had no authority to offer financial advice or investment opportunities. However, he posed as Head of Trading for the bank in order to get people to put money into fake investments.
Mr Talbot told the court among the victims was a cousin whom Ghedia had urged to invest in a non-existent Goldman Sachs portfolio.
A total of more than £63,000 was instead paid into three bank accounts belonging to him.
Another victim was his former taxi driver and his wife, who lost a total of just over £104,000.
The couple took out loans and had to sell their home to cover the costs, the court heard.
On some occasions, Ghedia made “dreadful assertions”, falsely saying his daughter had been killed in a car accident, to avoid communicating with the victims.
Another victim, a grandfather, told in a statement of his “embarrassment” after being swindled by Ghedia.
All the victims had known him before the scams took place, some being the parents of his children’s school friends.
Mr Talbot told the court Ghedia has “high value” property and vehicles, privately educates his children and lives a “lavish lifestyle”.
Benjamin Waidhofer, defending, argued the offences “did not” take place over a significant period of time, as well as telling of Ghedia’s good character.
Speaking about compensation, he added: “In all likelihood the victims will be made substantially, if not completely, whole.”
Ghedia, of Maidenhead, in Berkshire, had entered an early guilty plea, the court heard.
‘You have caused them devastation’
Judge Deborah Taylor, sentencing, dubbed Ghedia a “persistent fraudster and liar”.
She said: “This was a contrived, extensive and complex fraud using the names and reputation of doctors without them knowing.
“A complete disregard to their names and reputations.”
In relation to the investment fraud, she said: “You have caused them (victims) devastation, showing utter disregard for their mental wellbeing and finances.”
Detective Constable Daniel Weller, from IFED at the City of London Police, said: “It is both disturbing and despicable that Ghedia exploited systems which are set up to help those who are terminally ill - not to line the pockets of greedy fraudsters.
“Ghedia shows no sign of having a moral compass. Hopefully some time behind bars will give him the opportunity to find one.”