Driving test conspiracy criminals jailed

A brother and sister who ran their own ‘family business’ of arranging theory tests for candidates received prison sentences when they appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday.

Vishal Aggarwal, aged 35, from West Drayton, London was sentenced to 30 months in prison and his sister Vanita Aggarwal, aged 33, also from West Drayton, received nine months imprisonment.

They appeared in the dock with four candidates who had paid them to arrange and take their theory tests for them.

Jatinder Kaur Randhawa, 44, from Ilford, Priya Patel, 29, from Wembley, and Shazia Syed, 30, from Slough were each given 120 hours community service and Sita Rani Dhadwal, 31, from Birmingham, received an 18-month supervision order.

All the defendants faced charges of conspiracy to defraud and the Aggarwals each faced another charge of possessing an identity document with intent to commit fraud.

The court was told that Vishal Aggarwal was involved in a crime ring and had turned the impersonation of theory test candidates into a family business with his sister.

Financial statements recorded that out of 100 theory tests, 50 were arranged to be impersonated at a cost of £450 each, with Vishal Aggarwal paying about £250 to an impersonator.

The other 50 were booked on behalf of others in the crime ring using his sister’s credit card, for which he received a £70 flat fee.

The crime came to light when theory test staff became suspicious about the identity of an individual who attended for test at Aldershot. Following an investigation, a test at Bury St Edmunds was identified as one that may be impersonated. Investigators waited for the individual to arrive and saw Vanita being dropped off by Vishal. When Vanita came out of the test centre she was arrested and her brother was arrested afterwards.

When Vanita Aggarwal’s bedroom was searched, a ‘shopping list’ of candidates whom she had impersonated and who she was going to impersonate was found, which identified test centres and dates.

Andy Rice, head of DSA’s fraud and integrity team said: ”People who impersonate at driving tests present a real risk to all road users, as they provide an entitlement to drive to those who have not been assessed to show that they are competent to do so.

“In addition to obtaining the qualification to drive, many people seek possession of a full UK driving licence to establish proof of identity. Once obtained, that licence may also be used as proof of identity in a variety of other circumstances, such as obtaining state benefits and accommodation, opening bank accounts, obtaining credit cards and even undertaking domestic air travel. We are grateful for the co-operation and work done by Suffolk police in bringing this case to a welcome conclusion.”

DSA investigates all reported cases of fraud surrounding the driving test procedure and works closely with the police and criminal justice agencies to identify offenders and bring them to court.