Maninder Sambi accompanied by his wife, Navjot Sambi, were both jailed for a total of over seven years after devising a scam to defraud Maninder’s mother, Bhajan Sambi, of £230,000 by falsely claiming she was suffering from dementia.
In a three-week trial at Leeds Crown Court, the jury heard that Maninder also beat his mother viciously and exchanged text messages with his wife saying they “hoped that she would die” and that the couple began to exploit the mother when she was suffering from depression.
The couple, both aged 34, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, wanted to portray “to the world” that Mrs Sambi was suffering from dementia.
The scam included a forged letter supposedly from an Indian hospital which verified that Mrs Bhajan Sambi was suffering from the illness.
Also, husband and wife committed fraud by taking out a £100,000 critical illness insurance policy in Mrs Sambi’s name before falsely claiming that she suffered from dementia.
The court was told that Mrs Sambi’s depression triggered from experiencing a “cascade of bereavements” in the family in 2009 and 2010, which led to treatments for the condition.
From these bereavements, she ended up possessing a home which had an equity of about £230,000, which became a target for son Maninder Sambi and his wife.
Judge Robin Mairs who jailed Maninder and Navjot Sambi said that they deliberately initiated a process of “belittling and assaulting” Mrs Bhajan Sambi’s good name.
Using his mother’s illness and inability to manage matters on her own, Maninder obtained a legal power of attorney to take over her financial affairs.
Using his gained legal status to manage his mother’s funds, Maninder abused this power and went onto buying a new house for himself and his wife. He tried to use the equity of approximately £230,000 from his mother’s house to purchase the new property.
When Maninder went to an HSBC Bank branch in Chapel Allerton, Leeds to access the funds for the purchase, a member of staff from the bank noted what he was trying to do told him that it was not an appropriate use of his mother’s funds.
To ensure Mrs Sambhi was not saying anything to anyone, the couple took steps to make sure she was isolated. They monitored and hacked into her social media accounts making sure nothing was posted about her ordeal.
Maninder Sambi was specifically found guilty of ABH Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and both of them were convicted for forgery, conspiracy to steal and fraud.
At the trial, Maninder tried to protect himself by blaming his wife saying she was “the financial brains” of the family, whilst Navjot, his wife, said she was “subservient” to him and he was behind the scam and offences against his mother. They both denied committing the offences against Mrs Sambi.
Jailing the couple on 15th May 2018, judge Robin Mairs blamed both of them for the deception equally. He said:
“I find that this was very much a partnership. You knew she was vulnerable and you preyed on that vulnerability.”
Maninder Sambi was jailed for four years, three months for his crimes and his wife Navjot Sambi was sentenced to three years in prison for her part in the offences.
The couple has two children, who will now be cared for by family.