Motor Industry News
The mastermind behind one of Britain's biggest car cloning gangs was set to be stripped of his £2m fortune last night.
Nokhiaz Khan made huge profits from a stolen car scam which ripped off more than 100 victims. He ran a lucrative racket involving the theft of dozens of small family cars like Renault Clios, Fiat Puntos, Ford Fiestas and Honda Civics. They would be given new identities and sold to unsuspecting buyers for between £4,000 and £6,000 before being stolen back and re-sold. Some vehicles were sold, stolen and re-sold up to four times.
One couple had their car only a few hours before Khan's gang snatched it back.
Khan's henchmen often staged several terrifying carjacks on lone women drivers to retrieve the cloned vehicles - worth a total £340,000. A police source said: "Khan preyed on ordinary families. People would save up or get a bank loan to pay for a decent motor and a few hours later, it was gone."
The racket was smashed after Scotland Yard's stolen vehicle unit was tipped off about his activities by officials at the DVLA.
Yesterday, a judge at London's Southwark Crown Court, jailed him for four-and-a-half years after he admitted money laundering and an unconnected £309,000 mortgage fraud. British-born Khan, 31, who drove a cloned black Porsche sports car, now faces an asset stripping case to recover proceeds of the scam.
The professional criminal, who lived in a four-bedroom house in Hornchurch, Essex, had ran the racket since 2003. Cars stolen by his gang were cloned using the identities of similar vehicles on dealer forecourts. They were fitted with new number plates and service histories bearing fake stamps. Many were re-stolen by disabling electronic anti-theft devices.
Detectives identified 37 cars and 71 victims. But they believe there could have been many more.
Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith told Khan: "You were at the very centre and at the head of what was a very sophisticated organisation." Khan, and four henchmen, admitted involvement in the racket between January, 2003, and December, 2007.
Michael Kellman, 40, of Forest Gate, East London, was jailed for two years after he admitted stealing 10 cars.
Paul Pepper, 30, of East Ham, East London, admitted the theft of six cars and was jailed for 15 months.
Wayne Francis, 25, of Romford, Essex, and Sonny Sian, 22, of Forest Gate, received 36-week jail sentences suspended for two years for their part in the scam.